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On-line version ISSN 1851-9601


PASQUINO, Gianfranco. Accountability. Postdata [online]. 2008, n.13, pp.11-26. ISSN 1851-9601.

This paper identifies three different components of accountability: taking into account, keeping into account, and giving account, and explores their dynamics in the electoral and political process. The electoral campaign is characterized by the candidates' attempt to learn about the voters' preferences while, at the same time, communicating to them their platform. Once in parliament, the parliamentarians' behaviour will also consist in keeping into account their voters' preferences and in combining them with the constraints of their governmental or oppositional condition. Finally, at the end of their mandate all the political actors will have to return to the voters and to give them an account of what they have done or not done, and why. The cycle of accountability will start all over again when new elections are held. The new elections will be affected by the feedback produced when the account was given on the performance of the parliamentarians and their parties, the government and the opposition. Some old preferences will be reaffirmed; some new preferences will make their appearance, and the quality of democracy will have a chance to improve.

Keywords : Accountability; Political representation; Responsiveness; Mándate; Promises.

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