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Legal Dictionary

constituency

Definition of constituency

Noun

constituency (plural constituencies)

  1. A district represented by one or more elected officials.

    John was elected to parliament from the Bedford constituency.

  2. The voters within such a district.
  3. An interest group or fan base.

Synonyms

  • (district): electoral district
  • (people): electorate

Related terms

  • constitute
  • constituent
  • constitution
  • constitutional
  • constitutive

Further reading

A constituency is any cohesive body of people bound by shared identity, goals, or loyalty. Constituency can be used to describe a business's customer base and shareholders, or a charity's donors or those it serves. In politics, a constituency can mean either the people from whom an individual or organization hopes to attract support, or the people or geographical area that a particular elected official represents.

A constituent is any member of a constituency, including those who did not vote for an elected representative.

The term is frequently used in US politics. In most democracies the term is not that relevant, since the electorate is represented by more than one elected legislator, and the elected legislator has a responsibility to all the electorate rather than to his constituents. In the US system electorate and constituents are identical groups, but that is not the case in representative democracies. The electorate are all who can vote in the election (e.g. to the parliament), but the constituents are only those who can vote for a particular candidate in that election.

In US political campaigns the term is often used to divide the legislator's electorate into separate groups, for instance along racial lines, religious lines, cultural lines, sexual preference lines, etc. (e.g., 'the LGBT constituency', which shall be interpreted as the intersection of the LGBT community, and the Constituency).

References:

  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.



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