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World Political Science

Ed. by Cardinal, Linda

CiteScore 2017: 0.28

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.211
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.143

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The Norwegian Electoral System and its Political Consequences

Bernt Aardal
Published Online: 2011-09-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1935-6226.1105

The electoral system is an integral part of any representative democracy, and the choice of system is an important framework for individual behavior and party competition. An electoral system is a result of compromise between parties with vested interests in the system setup. However, no system satisfies all ideal claims. This article is an introduction to the electoral system used in parliamentary elections in Norway; it emphasizes the political consequences of vital elements such as the balance between provincial and compensatory seats, and the geographical distribution of seats and electoral formulae. In sum, the system introduced in 2003 is more proportional in terms of the parties’ share of seats compared with votes, and the geographical distribution has become more systematic and less skewed, although the ideal of one vote-one value has not been achieved. Both the present and previous electoral systems combine elements reflecting different principles and concerns such as increased proportionality, on the one hand, and the fear of a fragmented party system on the other. The analyses show a complex interplay between different parts of the system. One and the same system may have different effects depending on the balance between the parties and between electoral districts. Thus, in order to study the effect of changes in the electoral system one needs to use simulations based on election outcomes over time.

Keywords: compensatory seats; electoral system; geographical distribution of seats; parliamentary elections

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Published Online: 2011-09-01

Citation Information: World Political Science, Volume 7, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2363-4782, ISSN (Print) 2363-4774, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1935-6226.1105.

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