The European Parliament: one parliament, several modes of political representation on the ground?

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Series Details Vol.17, No.1, January 2010, p36–54
Publication Date January 2010
ISSN 1350-1763
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In this article we explore the potential for electoral systems to influence the attitudes and behaviour of elected representatives. Focusing on what we term 'geographical representation', or representation on the ground, we consider how variation in electoral systems may be expected to relate to different forms of, and priorities in, political representation. We then explain how - European Union (EU) legislation on 'uniform electoral procedures' notwithstanding - the European Parliament (EP) offers a uniquely powerful research site for investigating these questions. Finally, we explore recent survey evidence on Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) which suggests that, in several respects, electoral system variation does shape how they understand, and seek to carry out, their role as elected representatives.

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