Effective Number of Parties in Nova Scotia

Griffyn Geoffrey Chezenko


For nearly two decades, provincial general elections in Nova Scotia have been exciting contests among three parties. While no substantial changes have been made to the province's electoral process in that time, multiparty competition has been sustained; moreover, said competition has been unhindered by the apparent constraints of the single member plurality voting system. One means of determining the strength of party competition is to measure the effective number of parties. Drawing of previous party systems literature, I apply these measures to Nova Scotia provincial general election results from the last eight decades. What emerges is a picture of the state of partisan competition in Nova Scotia, one where competition has been gradually increasing, albeit in several distinct stages. In particular, elections in Nova Scotia over the last twenty years have been very competitive with a higher than normal effective number of parties.


elections; political parties; party systems; Nova Scotia

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