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What is the most important democratic virtue? In this new study Pasquino and Pelizzo argue that it is accountability. They consider accountability to be the most important process at work in political systems, but they argue that it has often been wrongly conceived. They emphasise the complexity of the process of accountability in any actual democracy, arguing that it consists of three different if related processes: taking into account, keeping into account and giving account. Much of the emphasis in writing on democracy has been on the third of these: how those in government give an account of their actions, explaining their conduct to voters. The other two are relatively neglected. Taking into account means those in government paying attention to the demands and preferences of voters, while keeping into account means ensuring that voter preferences do help shape government actions.