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date: 20 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Democratic representation requires that voters can find a party that represents their interests. Thus, representation is a function of the policy demands of citizens and even more so on the supply of party choices at election time. This chapter describes the factors that affect the choices that parties and party systems offer to voters, such as the number of political cleavages, the structure of the electoral system, the number of parties, the ideological diversity of these choices, and other factors. This chapter uses the Left–Right scale to describes the representation process across contemporary party systems. The chapter also considers the implications of these patterns for the functioning of representative democracy, and the issues facing future research.

Keywords: electoral system, European Union, Left–Right scale, party systems, political parties, voting

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