Electoral reform and political pluralism in local government

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Abstract

Electoral reform to a system of direct election of mayors has recently been promoted in a number of countries. It has been advocated as a way of strengthening local government, improving governance, and increasing accountability. However, studies supporting such a change have been detached from research on electoral systems and electoral reform. This article examines the consequences of a shift to a two-ballot system through Israel's 30-year experience following reform of the system for local government elections. The move to direct election of mayors led to a major decline in the main national parties and a rise in smaller parties representing a variety of sectoral interests. This resulted in greater political pluralism and increased representation for a variety of groups, while at the same time widening the gap between national and local elected leaders. The results of this electoral reform raise important considerations for local government reforms that have been proposed in other countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-413
Number of pages20
JournalParty Politics
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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