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Political Representation in Portugal: The Years of the Socialist Majority, 2005-2009

André Freire and José Manuel Leite Viegas


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Sinopse

The many studies presented in this book are pioneering in Portugal and, we hope, will encourage the establishment of a new line of political representation studies. In order to examine the congruence between the preferences of the electorate and of the Portuguese parliamentarians in relation to a wide range of matters (preferences on matters of public policy, ideology, institutional reform, European integration, participation in social pressure groups, democratic deliberation, etc.) in the project underlying this book we make use of two surveys conducted during 2008: of deputies in the Assembly of the Republic (N = 141 out of 230) and of Portuguese voters (N=1350). A very similar questionnaire dealing with the same topics was elaborated for the survey of parliamentary deputies. Both questionnaires reflected the comparative surveys used by the research networks in which the project is involved (Comparative Candidate Survey and Parliamen?tary Representation at the European and National Levels). The book is divided into three parts. The first part contains three chapters examining the `link between voters and their elected representatives and the role of deputies'. The second part of the book, `Ideology, European integration and political representation', focuses on the congruence between voters and elected representatives not only in matters of ideology (the position of citizens and elected representatives in a left-right dimension, but also on the `libertarian versus authoritarian' axis), but also in terms of policy preferences. The third part of this book is concerned with `institutional reform and deliberative democracy'. It has already been noted that in Portuguese political science this is a pioneering work introducing a new fundamental dimension to the study of political representation. The conclusions drawn do not differ much in important and comparable material from the results obtained in many other countries. Despite the many significant differences between the countries, the structure of the preferences of the elected representatives and the electorate is almost identical. Ideologically, there is greater congruity between voters and elected representatives on socio-economic matters than there is on socio-cultural issues. In respect of ideology and substantive policy preferences, the greatest gap between electors and the elected appear within the smaller parties integrated into the so-called `radical left'. Pro-Europeanism is generally more pronounced among deputies than it is among voters. Nevertheless, there remain several elements to be examined and explained through future research - see the of the book for further details.

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André Freire and José Manuel Leite Viegas

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