Representation, electoral reform, and democracy: Theoretical and empirical lessons from the 1996 elections in Israel

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Abstract

This article argues that researchers must broaden their definition of representation if they are to expand their understanding of electoral reform. The authors use the 1996 case of inter-and intraparty electoral reform in Israel to illustrate their claim. These reforms were designed either to enhance the circle of participation or to improve governability, without damaging representation. However, the type of representation that was supposed to be maintained by the reforms was different in each case. Party primaries were supposed to preserve representation as presence, whereas direct election of the prime minister was supposed to uphold the representation of ideas. The reformers did not perceive this distinction and felt that representation (defined as proportionality) would not be affected by both reforms. The result of the 1996 elections in Israel was that both reforms damaged representation, and both missed their targets.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1310-1336
Number of pages27
JournalComparative Political Studies
Volume33
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2000

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