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By Munroe Eagles

This booklet offers a concise review of the associations of presidency in glossy democracies, together with constitutions, legislatures, heads of country and of presidency, adaptations of federalism, and electoral systems.

The associations of Liberal Democratic States presents 4 excerpted chapters from Politics: An advent to Democratic Government, moment edition.

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This may be a formal agreement of mutual legislative support, it may be informal but ongoing because of ideological affinity, or it may be a series of shifting legislative alliances. The Swedish Social Democratic Party has governed successfully on many occasions with a single-party minority cabinet because it could count on the support of a small Communist party that could not bring itself to vote with the government’s right-wing opposition. In many European democracies, parties in the center of the system have been able to provide effective minority government by crafting policies that were attractive to opponents on the left some of the time, to opponents on the right some of the time, but never offensive to both right and left together.

Another distinction is between ELECTORAL PARTIES, which are parties that contest elections by fielding candidates, and LEGISLATIVE PARTIES, which are those parties that actually win seats in the legislature. When we talk about a country’s party system, we are talking about the number and strength of the legislative parties. Obviously the number of legislative parties cannot be greater than the number of electoral parties, but the reverse is often true. F I G U R E 2. 1 parties control the legislative and executive branches (15 of the past 23 midterm and presidential year elections have resulted in “divided government”), and even where there is a party congruence between the White House and the Congress, the weakness of party discipline means there are no safe bets.

The tendencies we have associated with plurality systems here are even more likely when the number of parties increases. Proportional representation electoral systems do not produce these electoral system consequences. The close correspondence between share of parliamentary seats and share of electoral vote has two consequences of note. One is the tendency to sustain a multiparty system, and the significance of this will be more apparent as we proceed. The other is the virtual impossibility of manufacturing a majority.

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