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The contemporary electoral process is, in many ways, far more complex than it used to be. This book focuses on the growing involvement of non-party actors in the process of selecting candidates, as well as involvement during the campaign itself. These actors - interest groups, individual citizens, even certain political institutions - operate in the campaign environment independently of the parties and their candidates. They are not seeking to attain public office, nevertheless they interfere in the electoral process in growing numbers and with increasing intensity. For the most part, they seek to influence electoral outcomes to their advantage, and yet on occasions for less selfish reasons such as increasing the quality of the electoral process itself. Encompassing a broad range of countries - including several old democracies (the US, Germany, Britain, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Israel, and others) and one new democracy (Romania) - and combining extensive surveys with detailed case studies of recent elections, the chapters in this volume take stock of this new feature in the contemporary electoral process, along with its origins, forms, and consequences.
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