Party Competition Under New Electoral Rules in Italy and Japan, 1994–2009

Part of the Studies in Public Choice book series (SIPC, volume 24)


The political history of Italy and Japan during the post-war period is strongly ­associated with two dominant parties: the Italian Christian Democrats (DC) and the Japanese Liberal Democrat Party (LDP). Notwithstanding this similarity, the electoral and party systems of the two countries differed. Italy had a fragmented and polarized multiparty system under proportional representation (PR), while Japan was known for the dominance of a single ruling party under the unusual single nontransferable vote (SNTV) system. However, in the 1990s, both countries experienced electoral system changes through the adoption of mixed electoral systems. Electoral reform was enacted first in Italy in 1993 and in the following year in Japan. Later in 2005, Italy switched from a mixed majoritarian electoral system (MMES) to a further “hybridized” electoral system, which gives a seat bonus to the party or coalition winning a plurality of votes, but in which seat allocation to coalition partners follows a proportional rule. In Japan, the MMES adopted in 1994 was changed as well, although in minor ways. For example, in the 1996 elections, the mixed system elected 300 MPs from single member districts (SMDs) and 200 from 11 PR districts; in the 2000 elections, the number of PR seats decreased from 200 to 180.


Electoral System Party System Proportional Representation Liberal Democrat Party Coalition Government 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of BolognaBolognaItaly
  2. 2.Graduate School of LawThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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