Linking Citizens and Parties: How Electoral Systems Matter for Political Representation

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Linking Citizens and Parties addresses familiar questions about political representation: Are parties responsive to their core supporters or to the public in general? Do parties that adopt centrist policy positions benefit in elections? Does proportional representation encourage party extremism? These fundamental questions about democracy are paired with the empirical observation of Western European democracies during the last thirty years. The study highlights the pathways (mainstream and niche) through which citizens' political preferences are expressed by their political parties. It concludes with a positive evaluation of these democracies as their citizens have access to at least one, and possibly both niche and mainstream pathways.