CFP: Electoral Reform in the Mediterranean Region

Call for Papers for a Special Issue on Majority versus proportionality? Trajectories of electoral reform in the Mediterranean since the 1990s Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft (ZfVP) / Comparative Governance and Politics:

This special issue will analyze electoral system reforms in the Mediterranean region under the aspect of improving governability or increasing proportionality of representation. How is this dilemma addressed in the Mediterranean region? Reform efforts are often legitimized by pointing at a lack of efficiency in creating a workable and stable government (governability) or of a fair transformation of votes into seats (proportionality), or by both aspects to varying degrees. Reform debates are often structured along this dichotomy, which also affects the outcome of the reform process. We are interested in drivers, scope, direction, vested interests and the politics of electoral reform. The Mediterranean focus reflects the higher degree of reform activities in this area, as illustrated by the case for Italy, for instance. The special issue aims to empirically and conceptually contribute to analyze how the dilemmatic relationship between improving proportionality and enhancing governability is balanced in individual cases of electoral reforms. 

Beside case studies, we are interested in cross-country studies as well as theoretical studies with reference to the Mediterranean region. The debate about the advantages and disadvantages of majoritarian and consensus democracy, as initially outlined by Lijphart, can provide an interesting theoretical framework for proposals. The regional focus provides a rich variety of electoral reforms as well as regime types, and shows large institutional variation. It is a theoretically and empirically so far under-researched area. Connecting the fringes of Europe, Asia, and Africa, it is a center of geopolitical conflicts and discourses. In public perception, such images overlap the regional efforts to emphasis the links between the northern and southern Mediterranean countries, as for example in the EU’s neighborhood policy with the Union for the Mediterranean since 2008. 

From a comparative perspective, it is interesting to analyze and compare the different strategies and legitimacy claims as well as the changes and compromises made in these processes. Are the effects of electoral reforms much more limited than promised by the reformers? Why are some proposed reforms successfully completed while others were stalled? To sum up, we are especially interested in papers with a focus on: 

  • Cross country comparisons of electoral reforms that focus on similarities and differences in the framework of a Most Similar or a Most Different Case Design. 
  • Case studies and process tracing approaches that focus on trajectories of (non)reform. 
  • Theoretical contributions that take into account the structure and consequences of majoritarian and proportional regulations and their ‘reformability’ in the specific regional context. 
  • Empirical, quantitative contributions on the causes and/or effects of electoral systems reforms. 

​​​​​​​Please submit your abstract of max. 200 words and a biographical note by November 30th 2020 to Thomas Krumm ( and Marta Regalia ( All accepted proposals will undergo the regular peer review once the full manuscripts are submitted.


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