par Pilet, Jean-Benoît ;Bol, Damien
Référence ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops (14-19 April 2009: Lisbon)
Publication Non publié, 2009-04-14
Communication à un colloque
Résumé : Parties’ attitudes about changing the electoral system are explained in various ways. The most common approach is based upon rational-choice models stating that parties are first and foremost strategic actors considering any change to the electoral system for its impact on the balance of power between and within parties (Boix, 1999). The dominant model was set up by Kenneth Benoit (2004) and considers that parties evaluate potential reform according to their expected impact on their future seat share (Benoit, 2004). But is this very simple logic really able to account for the positions of parties about changing the electoral system? No systematic empirical testing of the model has been offered yet. In this article, Benoit’s model has been tested for 103 parties involved in 14 different electoral reform debates (Belgium, British Columbia, Canada, Israel, Italy 1993, Italy 2005, Japan, The Netherlands, New Brunswick, New Zealand, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and the United Kingdom). The first element underlined by this paper is that Benoit’s model has not proven to be very significant to account for the support or the opposition of political parties regarding electoral reforms. Parties appear to be more influenced by their previous performance under the electoral system in use (Shugart, 2008). The parties that have been the most disadvantaged in the translation of votes into seats and that are the most often in the opposition are the more likely to support a change in the electoral system. In other words, it is not so much the hopes (or fears) to gain (or to lose) power that is determining the attitudes about changing the electoral system, it is more the (dis)satisfaction about the rules in use that is decisive.