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Democracy in the 21st century: can we be optimistic?

  • LIJPHART, AREND
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    The prospects for the spread of democracy around the world in the 21st century appear to be bright, but there are also important reasons for pessimism. One is that politicians and constitution-writers in the democracies are not aware of, or choose to ignore, compelling social science evidence concerning the superiority of parliamentary systems of government and proportional representation (in contrast to presidential government and majoritarian electoral systems). The older democracies are not in danger of failing, but they are losing much of their democratic vitality, as seen in the decline of people s interest in politics, decreasing voter participation, and the serious weakening of political parties. For these problems, too, parliamentarism and proportional representation are at least partial remedies, but stronger measures (such as compulsory voting) also deserve to be considered seriously

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    File URL: http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S1062798701000163
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    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal European Review.

    Volume (Year): 9 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 02 (May)
    Pages: 169-184

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:eurrev:v:9:y:2001:i:02:p:169-184_00
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