Critical candidates: Elite attitudes towards the functioning of representative democracy

Christoph Niessen, Nathalie Schiffino, Vincent Jacquet, Ludovic Deschamps

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Although citizens see representative democracy today almost unanimously as the most desirable form of government, the institutions of advanced industrial democracies gain steadily more criticisms. In this chapter, we pay attention to an (often) neglected perspective, namely the criticalness of political elites toward representative democracy. Drawing on the Belgian Candidate Survey, the results of our analysis suggest that candidates’ attitudes depend on how integrated they are in the current representative democratic system. Especially outsiders to the political system are more critical and, at the same time, more supportive for direct democratic arrangements. These findings invite to reconsider the power relations between critical and noncritical candidates in a representative system that remains unchanged despite the criticisms of a considerable number of both citizens and candidates.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCandidates, Parties and Voters in the Belgian Partitocracy
EditorsAudrey Vandeleene, Lieven de Winter, Pierre Baudewyns
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave MacMillan
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9783319964607
ISBN (Print)9783319964591
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2018


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