Geographical representation under proportional representation: The cases of Israel and the Netherlands


It has frequently been argued that proportional representation leads to national politics with little or no regional representation. We examine this in the case of the two most extreme cases of proportional representation, Israel and the Netherlands. We find that actually there are very distinct patterns of geographical representation. Although central metropolitan areas are somewhat over-represented in the legislatures, so are the most peripheral regions. This is due to the fact that parties tend to choose representatives from the geographical regions where they expect to be electorally competitive. Furthermore, proportional representation does not necessarily lead to nationally competitive parties, as in Israel. We also consider the relationship between geographical and other aspects of descriptive representation, such as gender and ethnicity.

Electoral Studies