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Comparative Politics

Readings for Tutorial 1

Russell J. Dalton, Susan E. Scarrow and Bruce E. Cain Advanced Democracies and the New Politics

More doubt on democracy and political institutions

Citizens turn to interest and citizen groups to access politics; fewer people vote, but more
participate through signing petitions, joining lobby groups, or being active in other forms of
political action aiming on changing the system to a more transparent and accountable one
From representative to direct democracy
OECD report: new forms of representation and public participation are emerging; citizens
want governments to take their view into account, wish for more transparency; engaging
citizens in policy making helps governments fulfil expectations

Three Modes of Democracy

1) Improve the process of representative democracy one example is the way the President of
the US is elected, which experienced great growth of citizens influence; generally,
mechanisms of representative democracy have maintained or sometimes increased citizens
- Voting participation might be decreasing, but there are likewise more elections in general,
wherefore the citizens have more chances to vote for different issues and candidates
- E.g. vote for MEPs
2) Direct democracy initiatives and referenda as most common means of direct democracy;
heavy increase of use of those means
- Some states provide for this in their legislation
- On the one hand, impact of these mechanisms is limited to one policy area only; but the
increasing use of referenda changes the political discourse
3) Advocacy democracy citizens and public interest groups interact directly with governments
and participate in policy-formation process
- Empowers individual citizens or NGOs to participate in governmental meetings, consult
ombudsmen and challenge government decisions through the courts
- now, virtually every public interest can be translated into a rights-based appeal, which
provides new avenues for action through the courts
- Increase of public interest groups, Brgerinitiativen
Citizens and the Democratic State

Dahls criteria for genuinely democratic systems:

1) Inclusion with minimal exceptions, all permanent adult residents must have full rights
of citizenship
2) Political equality equal and effective opportunity to participate in policy decisions
3) Enlightened understanding equal opportunity to learn about policy alternatives
4) Control of the agenda decide on matters on public agenda
5) Effective participation be able to make ones view on a future policy known
Problem with rising possibilities to vote: lower turnouts, since voters are asked to vote to often
Second-ordered elections mainly attract very ideological groups rather than average citizens,
which leads to less representative outcomes

- Problem of principle- agent do voters get what they voted for?

- Sheer number of actors and divided governments diminish the responsiveness of each actor
Take a look at the table with the criteria evaluation!
Formal Access and Actual Use

Advocacy democracy has rather unevenly distributed access, as few voters will file law suits
or attend local planning meetings
- Equality of access is not adequate if equality of usage is uneven
- Advocacy democracy can support enlightened understanding citizens groups might inform
other citizens through small campaigns, this allows citizens to make informed judgements
Problem is that this demands a lot more effort from the citizens than simply voting
Citizens lacking skills or resources to become active might be left behind

Patterns of Democracy

Arend Lijphart

Chapter 1

Fundamental question of democracy: what if there is disagreement and different preferences

between the people?
Majoritarian model stipulates that the majority of people will then decide as this comes closest
to the idea of government by and for the people
- Consensus model: as many people as possible should support a decision; the majority as a
minimum requirement, seeks to maximize the decision-making majorities
Aims on sharing, dispersing and limiting power as much as possible
- The majoritarian model is exclusive, competitive and adversarial, while the consensus model
is inclusive, marked by bargaining and compromise negotiation democracy
- Ten characteristics determining which model of democracy should be applied:
5 characteristics concerning arrangement of executive power, the party and electoral system:
1) Concentration of executive power in single-party majority cabinets vs executive power sharing
in broad multiparty coalitions
2) Executive-legislative relationships in which the executive is dominant vs executive-legislative
balance of power
3) Two party versus multiparty system
4) Majoritarian and disproportional electoral system vs proportional representation
5) Pluralist interest group systems with free for all competition among groups vs coordinated and
corporatist interest group systems aimed at compromise
Five characteristics concerning the contrast between federalism and unitary government:
1) Unitary and centralized government vs federal and decentralized government
2) Concentration of legislative power in a unicameral legislature vs division of legislative power
between two equally strong but differently constituted houses
3) Flexible constitutions that can be amended by simple majorities vs rigid constitutions that can
be changed only by extraordinary majorities
4) Systems in which legislatures have the final word on the constitutionality of their own
legislation vs systems in which laws are subject to a judicial review of their constitutionality
by supreme or constitutional courts

5) Central banks that are dependent on the executive vs independent central banks
- Pure majoritarian democracies are quite rare, although democracy is often equated with the
majoritarian notion only, disrespecting that consensus democracies are ever present
Chapter 2 The Westminster Model of Democracy

Westminster model = majoritarian model

British version as the original and best-known version of majoritarian democracy

The Westminster Model in the UK

1) Concentration of executive power in one party and bare majority cabinets
- Cabinet the most powerful organ in British government; composed of the members of the
party that has the majority of seats in the House of Commons
- Two party system with usually equally strong parties, wherefore there is just slight difference
between the leading party and the other one a large minority is thus excluded from power,
undermining the majoritarian principle
- Few exceptions to the dominance of two parties (few historical coalitions of two or more
2) Cabinet dominance
- In theory, the cabinet is dependent on the parliament; in reality, the cabinet is clearly dominant
3) Two-party system Conservative party and the Labour party; other parties (mainly the
Liberals or the Liberal Democrats) also win seats but cannot contest the two big parties
- Main trait of two party systems is that they tend to be one-dimensional party systems the
political agendas only differ in one dimension, the socioeconomic issues
- Labour presents the left-of-center and the Conservatives the right-of-center preferences in
socioeconomic issues; the Liberals and Liberal Democrats have a central position
4) Majoritarian and disproportional system of elections members of the House of Commons are
elected in line with the plurality method: the candidate with the majority vote or with the
largest minority vote wins
5) Interest group pluralism pluralism means a multiplicity of interest groups that exert pressure
on the government in an uncoordinated and competitive manner
6) Unitary and centralized government local governments are subject to the central government
and their powers are not constitutionally guaranteed, financially also dependent on the central
7) Concentration of legislative power in a unicameral legislature in the UK, parliament exists
of two chambers : the House of Commons and the House of Lords (which are hereditary
members or appointed life-peers)
- House of Lords can only delay legislation; usually, parliament refers almost only to the House
of Commons and the system is mostly called near-unicameralism
8) Constitutional flexibility there is no one written document to specify the composition and
powers of the governmental institutions and the rights of the citizens
- Number of basic laws Magna Carta, Bill of Rights, Parliament Acts lay down the
principles, customs and conventions
9) Absence of judicial review there is no written constitutional document against which the
high courts could challenge legislative action
- Parliament can make or unmake any law parliamentary sovereignty; but acceptance of EU
law and member to the European Convention of Human Rights
10) A central bank controlled by the executive

The Westminster Model in New Zealand

1) Concentration of executive power in one party and bare majority cabinets
- Labour Party and National Party dominated from 1335 to the mid-1990s
- Unusual cabinets (quasi-coalition cabinet, one party minority cabinet) only occurred during
the last years of Westminster democracy in NZ (ended 1996)
2) Cabinet dominance concentration of power within the cabinet
3) Two-party system the two parties were in full control over the party system throughout time
; Labour with left of centre and National as right of centre political preferences; third parties
were almost absent
4) Majoritarian and disproportional system of elections only exception to pure pluralist
elections were four specialized Maori districts, ensuring minority representation
5) Interest group pluralism clearly pluralist interest group system, marked by high
confrontation instead of concertation or cooperation
6) Unitary and centralized government
7) Concentration of legislative power in a unicameral legislature there was a bicameral system
(elected lower house and an appointed upper house) until the 1950s, which was then changed
to a purely unicameral system
8) Constitutional flexibility lack of a written constitutional document parliament sovereignty,
any law can be adopted by regular majority rule; the parliament has no limitations in enacting
9) Absence of judicial review
10) A central bank controlled by the executive this does not apply to NZ has the central bank
achieved increasing independence during the 1980s
Democracy in NZ was until 1996 clearly majoritarian and an even better Westminster example
than the UK
The Westminster Model in Barbados
1) Concentration of executive power in one party and mare majority cabinets two large parties
the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour party as the dominant forces
2) Cabinet dominance
3) Two party system differ mainly in socioeconomic issues, the Barbados Labour party is right
of centre and the Democratic Labour party is left of centre; only one party one two seats in
1966 and one party one seat in 1994
4) Majoritarian and disproportional system of elections less pluralitarian than UK or NZ
5) Interest group pluralism
6) Unitary and centralized form of government
Points 7 to 10 Barbados does not fit the majoritarian model:
- Bicameral legislature comprising an elected House of Assembly and an appointed Senate that
can delay but not veto (asymmetrical bicameralism)
- Written constitution that can only be amended by two-thirds majority in both houses
- The constitution gives the courts the right of judicial review
- The central bank has medium degree of autonomy in monetary policy
Chapter 3

The Consensus Model of Democracy

All who are affected by a decision should have the chance to participate in making that
decision either directly or through chosen representatives
The losing group in elections should not be excluded from decision-making

Majoritarian might argue that these conditions were also fulfilled in the above examples, as
the two parties shared mostly the same ideas due to the homogenous societies
- In less homogenous parties, the policies promoted by the leading party will diverge from those
preferred by minorities; voters are also more affiliated to their preferred party and will usually
not change their voting behaviour thus no change in the leading party as well
- The fact that minorities stay behind leads to discontent and maybe riots
- Need for a regime that promotes consensus instead of opposition
The consensus model in Switzerland and Belgium
1) Executive power-sharing in broad coalition cabinets
- Switzerland: seven seats in the cabinet which are distributed among the three biggest parties
(Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, Radical Democrats) and the smaller Swiss Peoples
Party; the linguistic groups have to be represented according to their size: four or five German
speakers, one or two French-speaker and an Italian one
- Belgium: executive must include representatives of the large linguistic groups, thus as many
French-speakers as Dutch-speaker
2) Executive-legislative balance of power
- Switzerland: balanced relationship between executive and legislature
- Belgium: Cabinet dependent on the confidence of the legislature; the cabinets are however
very broad and not cohesive and thus in a rather relaxed relation with the parliament
3) Multiparty System both countries have multiparty systems (Switzerland has four dominant
parties, Belgium about 12 different ones) differences in religious affiliation and belonging
to either working class or middle-class has an effect on the party affiliation
4) Proportional representation divides the parliamentary seats among the parties in proportion
to the votes they receive
5) Interest group corporatism both countries are marked by liberal corporatism, as the Liberal
Party predominates
6) Federal and decentralized government
- Switzerland: federal state with division of power between central government and the twenty
cantons and six half-cantons
- Belgium: more decentralized and federal since 1970s; federal state since 1993 consists of
three geographically defined regions (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels) and three nongeographically defined cultural communities (Flemish, French and German-speaking
7) Strong bicameralism gives special representation to minorities
- Switzerland: the National Council is the lower house, representing the Swiss people and the
Council of States is the upper house representing the cantons (two representatives per canton,
one per half-canton)
- Belgium Chamber of Representatives and the Senate but relatively weak bicameralism
8) Constitutional rigidity both have a written constitution that can be changed only by special
9) Judicial review
- Switzerland: the Supreme court does not have the right if judicial review; the Belgian court
achieved more power and authority and is now a constitutional court (Court of Arbitration)
10) Central Bank independence Swiss one seen as one of the strongest and most independent
central banks; the Belgian one was long one of the weakest, but its autonomy was reinforced
in the 1990s
The consensus model in the EU

1) Executive power sharing in broad coalition cabinets Commission as a broad coalition with
Commissioner from each MS
2) Executive legislative balance of power Parliament has a subordinate role to the Commission,
but the Council of the EU also plays an important role, thus the consensus model applies best
3) Multiparty system many different parties in the EP
4) Proportional representation election of MEPs according to proportionate representation;
however, due to the differences in countries size, there will always be disproportionality
5) Interest group corporatism clear trend towards more corporatism; Commission wants to
achieve better dialogue with social partners and include them in the decision making process;
the Economic and Social Committee consists of interest group representatives
6) Federal and decentralized government more confederal than federal
7) Strong bicameralism conditions: the two houses of legislature shall be equal in strength and
different in composition: this is met by the EU with the directly elected Parliament and the
Council with the representation from the MS; the upper house (Council) is more powerful than
the lower house (Parliament)
8) Constitutional rigidity extremely rigid
9) Judicial review European Court of Justice, often seen as creative and activist
10) Central bank independence European Central Bank was designed to be a highly independent
bank most independent central bank in the world

Why Democracies Excel

Siegel, Weinstein and Halperin

Wrong perception that to become a democracy, economic development is first needed

On the opposite: the development first, democracy later notion only maintains countries
from developing at all, they thus remain poor and autocratic
- The great economic performance of some Asian autocracies (Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan,
China, South Korea) has led to the maintenance of the misconception
- Evidence, however, suggests that democracies outperform autocracies in the developing world
- Democracy: popular participation, genuine competition for executive office, institutional
checks on power
- Low income democracies outdo autocracies regarding social indicators such as life
expectancy, access to clear drinking water, agricultural yields, literacy rates, quality of public
health services
- Low income democracies experience fewer economic uproars than autocracies; the periods of
rapid growth experienced by autocracies are mainly efforts to make up for recently
experienced economic decline or crises
- Democracies do a better job avoiding humanitarian emergencies; authoritarian regimes have
the highest numbers of refugee crisis and people displacement
- Poor democratizers fight less frequently than poor authoritarian nations
- Some authoritarian regimes, especially in Asia, have flourished, while some democracies
experience problems
The Asian autocracies were however under huge Western influence and support the private
Conceptual underpinnings

Poor democracies outdo authoritarian countries because their institutions enable power to be
shared and because they encourage openness and adaptability

Democratic leaders have an incentive to listen to their citizens

Checks and balances limits the scope for unthoughtful action
Authoritarian rulers usually have close relations to some businesses and individuals closely
tied to the ruling party which profit from access to credit and other resources; this means less
resources at a higher price for the rest of the population
Democracies are open and support the flow of information and media coverage, as well as
spread of ideas from one sector to another basic knowledge, such as the importance of
washing ones hands, is spread more easily in democracies; an educated society will fare
Openness reduces corruption
Adaptability of democracies they are better prepared for the death of a political leader and
thus less likely to be overtaken by an autocratic force
Democracies can adjust themselves well to changing circumstances and always try to identify
the best policy to choose, thus constantly developing and fine tuning themselves

Five Steps

Should be taken by the West to prioritize democracies and help them financially, instead of
continuing to finance autocracies
1) Democratic selectivity - gives incentives to non-democracies to shift course
2) The charters of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other lending
institutions should favour democracies they are currently prohibited to consider
democracy as a condition for giving funds
3) Democracy impact statements should become an integral part of international
development assistance assessments of projects in democracies
4) Separate aid for security purposes from aid for development since funding from the US in
autocracies even fosters violence and problems there
5) US must create a cohesive development strategy

Gallagher et al. Readings

Chapter 1


Focus not on a specific set of countries but at representative politics in general allows more
evidence and variance

Modern Europe

there is now one Europe, but within it there are distinct clusters of states, each with its own
set of characteristics, path dependences and political processes
Modern European states mostly run by a parliamentary government, a set of institutions that
gives a particularly important role to political parties and parliamentary elections
In Western part of Europe, liberal democracy has dominated since 1945 reintegration of
Germany and Italy into the Western core, introducing mainstream European politics
In central and eastern Europe, communist parties dominated, elections were conducted but
voters had no choice as there was only one candidate per constituency
Communist regimes crumbled at the end of the 1980s, as economic decline hit those countries
Post-communist countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania,
Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia

Women empowerment in politics varies throughout Europe: strongest in Denmark, Sweden,

Norway, Finland, Netherlands and Belgium and weakest in the new democracies
Most European countries have an extensive public sector and welfare system, leading to low
inequality rates regarding income distribution governments, however, recently started to
lower their public spending and thus tend towards the US
Privatization of responsibilities instead of the caring welfare state: an ageing society forces
governments to cut pension payments and make people retire later

Assignment 2 Readings
Chapter 2

The Executive

executive government runs the country

during crisis, like the financial crisis, it is usually the executive making the crucial decisions
de facto decisions, for instance on education, employment, are taken by the government
thus the executive as the ultimate source of political power in modern democracies

Separation of power

clear constitutional separation between legislature (elected by the people and responsible to
make law) and the executive (running the country under the constitution and the law)
chief executive in a separation of power regime is usually elected by the people and called
president he names the cabinet (politicians who need not be elected), who are responsible
for particular policy areas
the executive cannot dismiss the legislature and vice versa
the legislative has the power to approve the executive's annual budget can thus enforce
budgetary sanctions; only way to force the executive to do anything
US as prime example president is elected by the people and then appoints a cabinet, which
has to be approved by the Senate (the elected upper house of the bicameral US legislature,
lower house is the House of Representatives)
the Senate cannot dismiss the president simply because of disagreements

Fusion-of-powers regimes

parliamentary governments
executive is constitutionally responsible to the legislature; the executive must retain
confidence of the legislature and has to resign if it loses a legislative motion of no confidence
legislature can bring down government
executive is generally not elected but chosen by the elected parliament
parliament choses the incoming prime minister and cabinet and can dismiss them
in European parliamentary democracies, a special feature is that in some cases, the president
can dismiss the legislature and force new elections can call for early elections

Splitting the difference? Semi-presidentialism


France president directly elected by the people with considerable power and can sack the
prime minister and can dissolve the national assembly and call new elections
likewise, the prime minister and the cabinet have full responsibility for government policy and
are directly elected
only the president can nominate, and only the cabinet can dismiss, the prime minister
nobody can dismiss the president!

Parliamentary Government in modern Europe

The Prime Minister
chief executive in government in modern European democracies (German and Austrian chief
executives are called chancellors)
- often not only head of government but also of one of the largest parties in the legislature
- in countries such as Britain and Greece, the prime minister is typically the leader of a party
that wins the majority of seats and is thus chief executive, party leader and has control of a
legislative majority at once
- prime minister needs majority from the legislature to get into office
- if citizens want to change their chief executive, they do so by voting in legislative elections
- chief executive can hire and fire ministers in the cabinet
- the PM is the only one to ask the legislature as a whole to resign and to trigger the formation
of a new one through early elections
- PM has access to a crucial source of information which puts him into an important advantage
compared to any other politician
- PM coordinates the tasks of the cabinet and sets the agenda
- Ways to dispose of the PM: 1) early election; 2) change I the majority coalition of legislators
that keeps the government in office: 3) dismissal from inside the PMs own party parties can
get rid of their party leader and force him to resign
- This shows that a small group of people is actually able to remove the PM without any
elections and no say of the public whatsoever; however, public opinion polls have often
played a role in forcing the PM to resign
- If a PM is accepted or not mostly depends on how he can handle day-to-day politics
The Cabinet

Comprises a set of ministers each with two decisive roles: being individual head of a
government department and being member of the cabinet that makes or approves important
political decisions as a collective entity
- Individual ministerial responsibility: the minister of a department is responsible for the action
in his department to the government, the legislature and the people
The principle stipulates that a minister has to resign even if he did not personally know about
the problem or scandal in question; in reality, ministers refuse to resign if they had no role in
the problem and no control over it and only resign in case of major catastrophes or a scandal
involving themselves personally
- Collective cabinet responsibility ministers of a cabinet must hold together and stand behind
a common opinion and decision
- Ministers are thus asked to resign if they cannot support a cabinet decision
- The doctrine of cabinet confidentiality implies that ministers are prohibited from revealing any
substance of political discussions within the cabinet
- This implies that when the cabinet runs into trouble, it does so collectively
- The huge amount of decisions taken and discussed by cabinets leads to the need to thoroughly
prepare those decisions in the respective department first; the cabinet itself only accepts,
amends or rejects a specific proposal, which is put forward by the responsible minister
- The tacit rule of non-intervention dictates that a minister shall not interfere in the policy
decisions of another minister, as he does not have the information, knowledge and resources to
decide on the relevant issue (valid rule in the Netherlands)
Junior Ministers

Undersecretaries or ministers of state, are not members of the cabinet; they are responsible for
one part of an apartment and are appointed by the PM on behalf of the government as a whole

Part of the cabinet ministers jurisdiction is often delegated to the junior minister
Often, junior ministers stem from different parties than the respective cabinet minister, and
can thus trim the power of the cabinet minister

The Head of State


President under a separation of power system can also be head of state (US)
In Europe, the head of state is regarded as above politics with a clear separation between PM
and head of state
Constitutional monarchies with the monarch as head of state: Belgium, Britain, Denmark,
Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden
The European republics also have heads of state with similar tasks: procedural (presiding over
the transfer of power from one chief executive to the next), diplomatic (greeting other heads of
states) and symbolic (first citizen, personal embodiment of the state)
Head of state can be directly elected (Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Iceland, Portugal)
Indirectly elected president (usually by members of the parliament) can be found in the
European republics
Great variance between strong (France) and very weak presidents (Italy, Czech Republic); but
even the weak presidents can become strong under specific circumstances, when they use their
few formal powers


Some monarchs tried to use their political powers and interfere in policy-making, preferring
one party over the others this led to public resentment and in Greece and Italy to the decision
that Monarchy needs being abolished
Other Monarchs usually stay clear from party politics
Very important symbolic role
Monarchs and other heads of states legitimize the entire political system but usually refrain
from participating in day-to-day politics

The End of Ambiguity? Presidents versus Parties or the Four Phases of the Fifth Republic
Emiliano Grossman and Nicolas Sauger, pp.423-437
The intrinsic tensions and the two readings

Two different inspirations in the constitutional text of 1958 one positions the president as
the cornerstone of the whole regime (inspired by de Gaulle) which is reflected in the revision
of 1962 which introduced direct election of the head of state on the other hand, Michel
Debr, who drafted the constitution, had a more traditional parliamentary idea in mind and
promoted rationalisation of the relation between government and parliament
Contradictions: unclear aspects in division of power between president and PM power
overlap lead to frequent struggle between the two
In periods of cohabitation (occurs when the president is from a different party than the one
dominating the parliament) the president takes over a limited role, with the PM becoming the
political leader
Two logics exist within the 5th Republic side by side: de Gaulles vision of the presidential
Republic which gives the president three fundamental roles: represent the nation, judge in
conflict among institutions and on key decisions in defence and foreign affairs and is in charge
of the nation under exceptional circumstances the president is above the parties

Regular intervention of the president in policy-making decisions; he, however, depends on

resources from the government and the PM
Second logic is the partisan model sees the President as a super prime minister, designated
by universal suffrage and effectively governing the country

Four Phases/Faces of the Fifth Republic

1) The Gaullist Republic: Institutional Consolidation, Presidential Pre-eminence and Political
Turmoil (1958-65)
- The last president of the 4th Republic asked De Gaulle to become PM and threatened to step
down if the assembly did not approve
- De Gaulle accepted but asked for full power to rewrite the constitution; was granted with
temporary limits
- De Gaulle`s action and his vision of a republic centred around the president with less
importance of political parties led to dissatisfaction and far-reaching conflict
- He introduced direct election of the President
2) The politicisation of the 5th Republic (1965-81)
- Political unrest, starting in May 1968
- When De Gaulle resigned, the partisan logic became predominant and the presidential logic
- His successor, Georges Pompidou, followed a more partisan path
- The prevalence of the president over the PM became clear when several PMs were dismissed
by the president because of disagreement between the two
3) Political fragmentation and institutional challenges (1981-2002)
- Increasing political fragmentation and attempts to change the republic institutions
- Despite the problems, the institutional system proofed solid and stable
- The situation of cohabitation undermined the presidential logic, since the PM and president
now had to coordinate their actions and the president had to focus on the main issue areas
(foreign policy and defence)
- By the time, the divided government adapted to the situation of cohabitation and realized that
the PM would consult the president on questions of national security and foreign policy
- A period of regular crisis, but little change
4) Towards a New Political System (since 2002)?
- Revision of the constitution in 2000 presidential elections were brought in line with
legislative elections to limit the possibility of cohabitation
Conclusion: The End of Ambiguity?

Ambiguity was resolved De Gaulles attempt to confine the role of parties failed
Partisan logic dominates all aspects of French political life and especially the presidential
The president has become a partisan leader and actual head of the executive

Two decades of semi-presidentialism: issues of intra-executive conflict in Central and Eastern

Europe 1991-2011
Thomas Sedelius & Olga Mashtaler

semi-presidentialism has evolved as the most popular regime in Central and Eastern Europe
and among the post-Soviet States

in semi-presidentialism, the constitution includes both a popularly elected president and a PM

and cabinet accountable to the legislature
May result in intra-executive struggles between president and PM

Semi-presidentialism, transition, and intra-executive conflict


Two types of semi-presidentialism: premier-presidential and president-parliamentary systems

Premier-presidentialism: president is elected by a popular vote for a fixed term of office; the
president selects the PM who heads the cabinet; authority to dismiss the cabinet rests solely
with the parliament
- President-parliamentary: president is elected by a popular vote for a fixed time of office; the
president appoints and dismisses the PM and other cabinet ministers; the PM and the cabinet
ministers are subjected to both parliamentary and presidential confidence
- Intra-executive conflict is struggle between the president and the PM and / or the cabinet over
the control of the executive branch
- semi-presidentialism implies that both the president (as directly elected) and the PM (by virtue
of parliamentary support) can claim to be the true citizens representative
this might lead to deadlock when neither is willing to give up in a disputed point
- transition phase as a particular period of struggle, as uncertainties prevail and political leaders
will try to use this for their profit
Determining the level of intra-executive conflict

intra-executive refers to the relation between president and the cabinet/ PM

merely episodic or isolated instances of tension are codified as low
manifest and durable tensions between president and cabinet are estimated as high

Intra-executive conflict and the two sub-types of semi-presidentialism


common phenomenon in Central and East European semi-presidentialism

premier-presidential systems are more likely to intra-executive struggle as the cabinet is
dependent on the president and the parliament
most frequently reported in the Ukraine, where political tension prevailed
Russia: presidential omnipresence has put the cabinet in a subordinate position, less inclined
to rebel

The trend of intra-executive conflict 1991-2011


Premier-presidential: 53 incidents of low conflict and 47 of high conflict in 1990-1997; 62

incidents of low, and 38 of high conflict in 1998-2004 and 53 of low, 47 of high conflict in
President-parliamentary: 70 cases of low, 30 of high conflict in 1991-1997; 67 of low, 33 of
high in 1998-2004 and 75 of low, 25 of high conflict in 2005-2011
The initial period of transition 1990-1997 was marked by institutional turbulence and search
for an optimal form of governance; the next period was marked by strategies for establishing
the political systems according to the new constitutional framework; the late-transitional
period (2005-2011) was marked by the financial crisis and the EU accession of Romania and

The issues and character of conflict


Conflict over

1) Formal and / or constitutional issues - 57

2) Reforms and/or specific policy issues 53
3) Appointment and/or dismissal - 37
4) Political scandals - 23
5) Other issues (such as personality clashes) - 13
- Intra-executive conflict is complex and often involves several of the above aspects
- Presidents and PMs have regularly resorted to the tactic of challenging the legitimacy of the
constitutional framework to gain more power for either the legislature or the executive
This often leads to criticism from the population and the international arena, as it goes against
the main ideas of democracy; moreover, going against the constitution takes much time and
resources and thus slows down policy-making in other areas

Premier-presidential system: frequent conflict since the governments have to work for
majority support in the parliament to achieve their goals and avoid dismissal
President-parliamentary systems showed surprisingly many conflicts
Conflict is not becoming less frequent
with varying strength, intra-executive conflict illustrates the main dilemma built into semipresidentialism, i.e. the somewhat vaguely defined, and partly, overlapping, competences
between president and PM

Readings Tutorial 3

Chapter 3


= legislature
In every European country, except for Cyprus and Switzerland, the government is elected by
parliament and can be dismissed by it
Parliament thus has power through the government it has elected
Presence of political parties, behaviour of ministers is likely to be determined by their party
We can therefore not talk about parliament as one coherent and independent body, but rather
an assembly of different party groups
Parliamentary parliament groups (PPG)
Increase in the role and power of parliament in the case of a minority government
Three modes in which parliament and government interact: 1) the inter-party mode, in which
relations between different actors in parliament and government are determined primarily by
their respective party affiliations; 2) a cross-party mode, in which ministers and MPs combine
to interact on the basis of cross-party interests, and the 3) non-party mode, in which
government and parliament interact without regard to party
The inter-party mode characterises most of the behaviour of ministers and members of
In a majoritarian democracy, the leading party is likely to follow its course regardless any
opposition; the opposition will merely criticise government, but not try to change it
In consensus democracies, the government will try to find a broad consensus in parliament and
thus has a balanced relationship with the parliament
The actual power of parliament usually differs from its formal powers and is subject to several

Rules in parliament were initially defined and created by them and can thus not be seen as
some external constraint, but some rules they supported voluntarily
They can hence also easily change those rules

The roles of parliaments


In most cases, the lower house has more power than the upper house
1) Appointing and dismissing governments
In most countries, the government is responsible to the legislature (in most cases the lower
house) appointment and dismissal subject to the legislature
Some countries (Germany, Poland and Spain, Belgium) have a constructive vote of no
confidence, which implies that the parliament can only turn down the government if it has a
new Prime Minister in whom it has confidence
This power is rarely being used, since governments will bow and retreat as soon as they sense
that there are unbridgeable problems
2) Parliaments and law-making
In parliamentary democracies, government is almost always able to push its ideas through due
to the high level of party discipline
Parliaments are in fact mostly not able to initiate own legislative ideas
In majoritarian systems, the government controls the parliamentarian agenda, while in
consensual ones, the agenda is decided by agreement among party groups or by the president
of the parliament after consultation with the party groups
In consensual systems, the most important work is done in committees
In consensual systems, bills first go to committees before they are debated in the full
parliament, in majoritarian systems bills go to the committees after discussion in the

Parliaments and law-making in majoritarian countries


Greece: two main parties that are rivals; the government is almost always a single-party one
and the opposition has no powers, with government taking no account of its views
UK: the main non-government party receives a special status Her Majestys Opposition,
but has less influence than other non-government parties in many countries. The opposition
merely holds speeches to show the governing party that there might be better solutions, but
those speeches are not taken seriously
Ireland: the government has virtually full control over the parliaments agenda
In Britain and Ireland, the parliament and government are almost entirely fused, which implies
that the government ministers are simultaneously members of parliament

Parliaments and law-making in consensus countries


Germany: Bundestag committees focus on the technical details of bills and the government is
usually open to the parliaments proposals
The Bundestag adopts the cross-party mode, being open for negotiation between government
and parliament
- Austria: committees in the parliament sometimes devise legislation; the same is valid for the
committees of the lower house in the Netherlands
- Scandinavia: rather powerful parliaments which focuses on actual and conscientious work
instead of dramatic speeches
- In the Scandinavian countries, Italy and the Netherlands, government has little say on the
parliaments agenda

Italy: government has very weak influence on the parliament and the legislative committees
have great law-making powers
In the post-communist countries, government were quite weak in the beginning, allowing MPs
to pass most legislature without government approval. Most MPs did not adhere to one party,
but were hopping from one party to the next. With EU accession, the government became
stronger, party discipline was now promoted, which ended the chaotic state of affairs

Parliaments and oversight of government

Only some parliaments play a role in making laws, but all see themselves as having the role of
overseeing the work of government
question time allows MPs to pose questions to the ministers who are obliged to answer in a
fixed time
Ministers usually try to give away as little information as possible
interpellation a question from an MP to the minister whose response can be debated by
parliament if enough deputies request this
Oversight committees are the best way to observe governments behaviour. Each government
department is observed by one committee and every MP can only be part of one committee,
thus developing specialized knowledge
Those committees have the right to summon one minister and question him; they also have the
right to all the information the government department has
Committees are usually most efficient and effectual when they are small and numerous
When committees appear significant, interest groups will seek to dominate them
Interest groups and citizens might be able to present their issue to the relevant committee and
thus gain access to law-making processes

Parliaments and parties


More power for parliament means in fact more power for the parliamentary party groups; less
power for the government implies more power for the opposition
Popular misconception is that MPs are always under the power of their party bosses and
cannot vote autonomously; it simply makes sense for MPs to gather in political groups as they
can achieve more this way and chaos is avoided, which would be the result of every single MP
chasing his ideas independently
Members of a party instinctively vote in line with their partys idea, because they feel loyalty,
solidarity and common purpose; they have similar ideas and visions
Governments maintain close relationships to the different parliamentary parties, to observe
which proposals will be approved

Voters vote for parties

- Most Europeans vote for parties rather than a person in parliamentary elections
They do so since they want to determine which party or parties will control the government
- As the politicians personal vote is much less important, the fate of policy candidates is more
influenced by national political forces than what this particular candidate has achieved on his
local level
- MPs are not able to ensure specific legislative pacts or advantages for a particular project in
their region contrary to the ability of American politicians who can thus ensure their voters
support through bringing home some good deal
- If a party weakens, the candidates will lose their seat no matter what they personally achieved
In Europe, about 30 to 40% of outgoing MPs are replaced at each election

Party labels are very important in Europe, since voters vote for the party party candidates
thus have an incentive to act in line with their party ideas

Parliamentarians and party discipline


There are powerful incentives to vote in party line, whatever an MPs private policy
preferences (such as fear of losing the party label at the next election)
The prospective of becoming a senior government member is another reason for being in line
with the party ideas the party leader determines who receives an executive office

Parliamentarians and constituency representation


Constituency representation: MPs promote and defend the interests of their geographical
constituency, of particular sectors within the constituency or of individual constituents
Alongside the main tasks of MPs, they spend a great deal of time on defending individual
interests of constituents
Many MPs in France, for instance, have their constituency in the department where they were
born and hold some local office, such as mayor or deputy, there
In many other countries, the MPs are strongly locally connected and oriented
MPs who live in a country where voters can vote for a party candidate, instead of the party as
a whole, have a greater incentive to engage themselves locally
Another explanation for devoting much time to constituency work is that it is psychologically

European parliaments: one chamber or two?


Bicameralism: the second chamber can act as a check and can discuss policy proposals in a
more reflective manner than the highly politicized lower house
Second chambers are often seen as unimportant, as they rarely block government or lower
The impact of bicameralism depends highly on the composition and the powers of the second
Bigger countries tend to have two chambers
Usually, in case of disagreement on a bill between the two chambers, the bill will be passed
back and forth between the chambers until agreement is reached; if no solution is in sight, a
special committee is set up to solve the issue
Italy : both chambers have same power
The Romanian state also has two equal cambers, and in Belgium the Senat is only little less
powerful than the lower house
Typically, the upper house can merely delay legislation, but sometimes it can veto certain
types of legislation
In Britain, the upper house can delay bills by a year, which can be effective when there are
elections coming up

The significance of parliaments


Parliaments can do useful work in improving legislation through detailed examination in

Parliaments do not play an active role in decision-making, as governments heavily rely on
experts in the civil service and hence do not bother addressing parliament and slowing down
the process

However, MPs are becoming more professional, parliaments are better resourced, more active
Governments know that they depend on the parliaments confidence and thus attempt to act in
line with parliamentary expectations
Parliamentary government cannot exist without party discipline

Pieter de Wilde
Ex ante vs. Ex post: the trade-off between partisan conflict and visibility
in debating EU policy-formulation in national parliaments

Some national parliaments have created ex-ante control mechanisms, to ensure that they hold
their governments accountable for EU policy-formulation
Others have created ex post mechanisms, such as plenary debates following a European
Council summit

National parliaments and European integration


National parliaments have created European Affairs Committees (EACs)

Importance of parties and party politics in the issue of European policy making and decisions
parties that are rather Eurosceptic will want to make their voice heard, the mainstream
parties then also need a channel to respond
- National parliaments want to control government and provide an arena for public debate
debates on EU issues should function to signal party positions on EU issues to voters, thus
allowing voters to recognize which party best represents their interests and thereby inform
their votes in the next election
The need for partisan and visible debates

Responsible and working democracy should offer multiple parties with different policy
preferences, which should be known to the voters
Two forms of debate in national parliaments on EU issues: partisan debate (domestic political
parties take up different positions on the pro-anti integration and/or left-right dimension) and
intergovernmental debates (consensus by domestic parties for the need of promotion of the
national interests)

How control mechanisms affect scope of conflict and visibility


Danish ex ante model: the government presents a negotiating strategy to the EAC, who agrees
or disapproves
Takes place early in the policy-formulation phase before intergovernmental negotiations
within European Council start; secrecy is important to allow the government to bargain in the
- Ex post: hold the government accountable and ensure that it acts/acted in line with
parliaments ideas
Occurs when the government has already made a decision in the Council; action at this phase
is public
- Timing of control between the two mechanisms differs
Ex ante control mechanisms stimulate less visible debates than ex post mechanisms
- Since media coverage on EU issues usually focuses on bigger issues and on intergovernmental
quarrel, ex post control kicks in relatively late in the policy-formulation phase
- Ex ante control mechanisms stimulate partisan debates, while ex post mechanisms stimulate
intergovernmental debates


Ex ante control mechanisms stimulate more conflict between domestic political parties but
result in less visible and rather secretive debates than ex post control mechanisms
The case study of Denmark (ex ante) and the Netherlands (ex post) confirms the two
hypotheses (above in italics)
Both mechanisms have advantages and disadvantages

Mark Bovens Analysing and Assessing Accountability: A Conceptual Framework

The Concept of Accountability

A strong promise of fair and equitable governance

Accountability does not refer to sovereigns holding their subjects to account, but to the
reverse: it is the authorities themselves who are being held accountable by their citizens
- Started as a way to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of public governance, but is now a
goal in itself
- Often interchangeably used as a word for good governance, also implying transparency,
equity, democracy
- the obligation to explain and justify conduct accountability implies a relationship
between an actor (the accountor) and a forum (the accountholder) the forum can pose
questions and pass judgment and the actor may face consequences
- The actor can be an individual, or an organisation (public institution, agency)
- The forum can be a specific person (minister, journalist), an agency (such as a parliament), a
court or the audit office
- The account can be formal (such as the obligation to render account on a regular basis before a
court or auditors) or informal (press conferences, informal briefings or a voluntary audit)
- Accounting is not merely giving information, but also explaining oneself and justifying ones
- There has to be a possibility for the forum to interrogate and question the adequacy of the
information or the legitimacy of conduct; the forum then should have the chance to pass
judgment and approve or denounce
- Possibility of sanctions the actor may face consequences (not all institutions are able to
actually sanction the actor, but he will face some kind of consequences)
The forum might not be able to enforce sanctions, but can report to the parliament or another
higher institution which then sanctions the actor
- Accountability is not only about scrutinizing the actor, but is also a form of prevention and
anticipation. The actor receives an incentive to act according to the forums interests and will
learn from mistakes

There is a relationship between an actor and a forum

In which the actor is obliged
To explain and justify
His conduct
The forum can pose questions
Pass judgment
And the actor may face consequences

Types of accountability
1) To whom is account to be rendered?
Public organisations might be accountable to various different forums
Political accountability principal-agent relations lead to the need for accountability; each
person in the chain (from voter to minister) is part of the accountability
Legal accountability: courts as legal forums
Administrative accountability: auditors, inspectors and controllers
Professional accountability: professional peers
Social accountability: interest groups, charities and other stakeholders
Who is the actor: the problem of many hands

Sometimes hard to reveal who is accountable for the forthcoming of a policy

Corporate accountability: the organisation as actor public organisations are included in
corporate liabilities
Hierarchical accountability: one for all accountability starts at the top of the organisation,
the director or commissioner is then responsible for everyone else there is then a chain of
actor and forum going down the hierarchical pyramid
Collective accountability: all for one one person might be picked and held accountable by
virtue of fact of being a member of the organisation; the problem is that it should matter if the
director makes a decision or if a simple worker only followed the order from above
Individual accountability each for himself each individual is judged on the basis of his

Nature of conduct financial, procedural or product accountability

Nature of obligation

Vertical accountability the forum wields formal power over the actor
Hierarchical accountability no hierarchy between actor and forum wherefore giving accounts
occurs mostly on voluntary basis
Mutual accountability between bodies standing on equal footing
Diagonal accountability- accountability in the shadow of hierarchy

Assessing Accountability
- The democratic perspective popular control
Public accountability is crucial as it helps citizens to control those holding public office
Each principal in the chain seeks to monitor the execution of tasks by calling the agent to
account; at the end of the accountability chain are the citizens
- The constitutional perspective: prevention of corruption and abuse of power
Prevent the tyranny of absolute rulers and a corrupt government
- The learning perspective: enhancing government effectiveness
The public nature of accountability processes also teaches other actors with similar power
positions what is expected from them and what might be the consequences for misbehaviour
- Accountability increases legitimacy
- Public processes of accountability can also act as an arena for social or political closure, in
ending a tragic period and allowing for public grievance

Assignment 4 Readings
Gallagher Chapter 11 Elections, Electoral Systems, and Referendums

Elections are important in practical terms (determine who becomes part of the political elite
and formation of government) and symbolic terms (legitimizing a countrys political system
cheap and easy way for citizens to participate in politics)
General elections do not allow the citizens to declare their opinion on specific issues,
wherefore referendums are used to ask the population on a precise issue
Four years maximum of time between elections
Only in a few European countries (Norway, Sweden), the timing of elections is fixed by law;
other countries can freely choose the date of the elections
Parliamentary elections, elections for local councils, regional or provincial elections, EP
elections in the EU countries, election of the President (in the 13 presidential countries)

Types of electoral system


No two European countries have identical electoral systems, but patterns can be observed
Distinction between majoritarian systems (plurality or majority systems) and proportional
representation systems
No electoral system can guarantee perfect proportionality, but PR systems attach more priority
to get close to perfect proportionality
Plurality systems prioritize other criteria

Plurality and majority systems


UK and France only two countries with no element of PR

UK: divided into constituencies or (in the USA) districts, which each return one MP to the
House of Commons in each constituency, the candidate with the most votes, whether or not
this is a majority over all others combined, wins the election first past the post or singlemember plurality (SMP)
Until 2010, no changes to the system had been made, since when a party has the will to
change an electoral system, it does not have the power, and when it has the power it does not
have the will
In 2010 elections, no clear majority appeared and first changes to the existing system were
negotiated; however, the parties still opposed to introduce PR and were willing to accept AV
(alternative vote) instead
AV signifies that the electors rank the candidates in order of preferences by placing a number
next to each name
France: similar as in UK, deputies are returned from single-member constituencies, but there
is the chance for a second round of voting, if no candidate wins the majority of votes in the
first round; in the second round, only the top candidates can be elected; the candidate with the
most votes in the second round wins the seat
Two-round double ballot system (2RS)

Proportional representation

By the end of the second World War, almost all European countries had systems based on
proportionate representation
Multi-member constituency: seats are allocated to parties within each constituency in broad
proportion to the votes each party receives

Three main categories: list systems, mixed systems and STV

List systems

Each party presents a list of candidates in each constituency, each list contains as many
candidates as there are seats to be filled; the seats are then shared out among the parties in
proportion to the votes they win, based on a predetermined formula
- All the different variants of PR are essentially the same and only slightly differ in the
conception of fairness
- District magnitude: if the average district magnitude is small, the outcome will be highly
unlikely to be proportional - a solution is to use larger constituencies, but this has the problem
that voters cannot identify with their local candidate anymore; a second solution is to have a
second level of allocation to iron out disproportionalities at the constituency level
Some countries set a certain number of seats aside, the higher-tier seats which are later on
handed to the parties in appropriate numbers to ensure proportionality
Mixed Systems

MPs can be elected via two different routes generally, this implies that the voter has two
votes to cast, one for a local constituency MP and one to choose a party list
In compensatory mixed systems, the list seats are awarded to the parties to ensure that their
overall seats are proportional to the list votes
In parallel mixed systems, the list seats are shared out on the basis of list votes
Although they are said to combine proportionality and local representation, mixed systems are
problematic and said to lead to lower levels of accountability, government effectiveness,
control of corruption, representation of women in parliament and voter turnout


Electoral systems usually set a threshold that parties have to overcome to acquire seats
Example Germany: parties have to either win 5% of the list votes or three constituency seats

Which candidate gets the list seats?


- non-preferential: the party draws up a fixed ranking that cannot be altered by the voter
In other countries, the voters decide which candidates get the seats preferential system
Flexible system: there is a ranked order, but this can be overturned if the voters are against it

The single transferable vote (STV)


Voters cast a vote by ranking as many as they wish of the candidates, regardless of part
The Droop quota has to be achieved by a candidate to be declared elected
The votes a candidate possesses over the quota are then transferred to other candidates
Gives voters the chance to convey much about their preferences and to vote regardless the
party lines
The vote only benefits the candidate and no other people from his party
Voters can indicate in which direction they want the party of their candidate to develop
Critiques fear that this system affects the party cohesion and that strong and cohesive parties
are necessary in modern democracies; moreover, they argue that this system supports the rise
of independents, who, lacking restraint from their party, are able to wield undue power

Why electoral systems matter

Proportionality the degree to which parties shares of the seats correspond to their shares of
significantly greater under PR
low proportionality when the thresholds and small district magnitude assist large parties
and penalize small ones
- Number of parties PR is said to lead to the formation of many independent parties
- in non-PR countries, the voter knows that voting for a small party will most likely lead to a
waste of his vote and will thus rather vote for one of the major parties this leads to fewer
independent parties
This thesis cannot be supported!

Coalition or single-party government?


It is unlikely in PR-systems that there is a clear majority

Policy outputs

There is general agreement that voters preferences are better represented in parliaments by
PR systems, but there is some disagreement as to the implications for congruence between
voters and governments
Scholars argue that in PR countries, there will be higher government spending, a larger
welfare state, higher government deficits, more redistribution of resources, higher
environmental awareness and protection

The backgrounds of parliamentarians


Use of PR leads to higher proportion of women

Voters in s single-member constituency will be hesitant to select a candidate from a gender,
ethnic or religious minority, as it is unlikely that other voters will also vote for this person
Voters in multi-member constituencies have more room of choice and will feel it wise to
ensure that the voting ticket includes diverse candidates


People decide directly on an issue

In most European countries, only the institutions of a representative government, such as
government or a parliamentary majority, a specified minority in parliament or the president
can call for a referendum
In some countries Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Slovenia,
Switzerland the people themselves can ask for a referendum
2/3 of all referenda since 1945 occurred in Switzerland
Questions concerning moral issues or national sovereignty are mostly subject to referenda
EU membership in many countries decided via referendum
Legalization of divorce in Italy and Ireland decided by referendum in the 1970s
Italy: abrogative initiatives a specific number of citizens can sign a petition to challenge an
existing law; for a law to be declared void by referendum, there must not only be a majority of
voters in favour, but also a turnout higher than 50%

Chapter 9

Cleavage Structure and Electoral Change

Religious division dates back to the reformation in 1517 which divided the so far unified
Christian Europe into two parts
In Catholic countries, the Catholic Christian democratic party still dominates

The meaning of cleavage


Three specific connotations:

1) Involves a social division that separates people who have different social-structural
characteristics (occupation, religion, status, ethnicity, language)
2) The groups involved are conscious about their collective identity
3) Cleavage must be expressed in organizational terms, such as trade unions, church,
political party, organizations

Traditional Cleavage structures

1) The centre-periphery cleavage
- Subject culture and the dominant culture, or the cleavage between a countrys socio-political
centre and its periphery
- Emerged when the European states were formed; people in the centre wanted to conform
political systems and standardize laws, markets and cultures, while people living on the outer
shores of the country wanted to preserve their identity
2) The Church-state cleavage
- Developed differently in Protestant and catholic countries
- Protestant churches were mostly national churches and agents of the state, wherefore they did
not want to challenge the state
- Catholic church saw itself as being above the state and wanted to remain autonomous; they
wanted state laws on questions such as divorce and censorship to be in line with Catholic
- A new cleavage arises between the immigrant-descended Muslim minority and the secular and
Christian majority
3) The rural-urban cleavage
- Traditional rural versus the newly arising commercial and industrial interests
- Not everywhere present, as in some countries, such as Britain and Germany, this cleavage was
not apparent in the partisanship
- While this traditional cleavage is dormant, new conflict arises, due to the concentration of
urban poverty and racial tensions
4) The class cleavage
- Rose during the Industrial Revolution: the conflict between capital owners and the working
- In all European countries, socialist parties representing the workers emerged
- In some countries, these developed into communist parties, mainly because the bourgeois
parties were unwilling to include workers into the national politics and refused to grant them
an extension of political and social rights
The interaction of different cleavages

Class cleavage emerged in every European country, while the major difference concerns the
emergence of the other three cleavages
- Cleavage structure consists of two patterns
Cleavages that have survived historically as social and political division
Cleavages that cut across one another

The persistence of cleavages and the freezing of party systems


Freezing of political parties since the 1920s; the parties persist

Cleavages could persist for four reasons: 1) the interests underlying the cleavage persisted, 2)
major alternative political identities were only able to mobilize when many new votes were
incorporated into mass politics which did not occur since the granting of universal suffrage; 3)
rules of the game favoured the parties that had initially defined them, 4) parties could attempt
to isolate their supporters from competitors parties tried to establish themselves as an
important part in their voters lives, through activities, creating welfare clubs, recreation
centres, welfare services

From persistence to change


Scientists in the 1960s were convinced, that the freezing hypothesis (assumption that party
systems and constellation had settled and would not change) was true
Student protests and demonstrations in 1968 were first instances that led to change
Change as the catchword of the 1970s

Change in European cleavage structures and electoral behaviour


Defreezing of traditional political alignments and party systems

1) Changing social structure
Erosion of traditional social boundaries due to technical change and modernization
Women, for instance are now almost equally present in the workforce; education enables
everyone to change his natal status
Religion faded, secularization between 1960s and 2000s
2) Changing voting behaviour
Voting cohesion declined beforehand, practicing Catholics would vote for the Catholic
Party, Protestants for the Protestant ones, workers voted for working class parties
Due to new access to social media and news, voters began to follow political lines in line with
their personal interests and not their subculture
Traditional cleavages became less significant to partisanship particularization or
individualization of the voter
Cleavages do, however, persist but in weaker forms

Change towards what?

- Towards realignment?
Emergence of a new cleavage based on social identity environmental awareness, feminism,
university education
- A new cleavage?
Globalization and Europeanization leading to a new divide
Green/alternative/libertarian positions vs traditional/nationalism progressive vs
Winners vs losers of globalization
Parties might be divided over the issue of European integration, but the European dimension
itself has no big impact on national elections yet
The winners/ losers argument is also not that stable, as the winners of globalization might not
be winning anymore and the gap between winners and losers diminishes
Towards dealignment?

Traditional parties lose their predominance, but not as greatly as some scholars suggest
1) Party identification and voter turnout
Declining levels of party identification; European voters, however, tend to identify with social
groups rather than political parties; voters moreover often identify with more than one party
Declining voter turnout
2) Support for new political parties
Some new parties reflect the emergence of new political issues, while other new parties are
simply results of splits in old parties
Old parties that evolved before 1960s and new parties that evolved after 1960s and are part of
the post-freezing area
The old parties are still able to hold many of their voters
The new parties with high support are those that have features of the old parties
3) Electoral volatility
Consistent growth in voters volatility since the 1990s

Evaluating Change and Stability


even if change is widespread, it is important not to overstate its extent. Although few party
systems have been as constant as they once appeared to be, all exhibit substantial elements of
Consistent divide between the broad left and centre-right
The conservatives and the social democrats are consistent
Growing individualization of political preferences since the 1990s
Voters are less bound to one party and shift their vote according to their political preferences
Party systems are frozen by the social structure, by the institutional structures such as electoral
system, and by organizational

Post-communist countries

Many different parties and a state of instability and flux among voters and their parties
Many votes are casted for parties that receive no seats and are thus wasted
Lower average voter turnout than in West Europe
Those countries emerged from uncertainty and unpredictability but now develop to more
stable alignment
While post-communist countries become more stable, Western European countries develop
into an unstable direction and might thus develop in the direction that post-communist
countries just left

Cas Mudde

The Populist Radical Right: A Pathological Normalcy

Normal pathology thesis: the radical right constitutes a pathology and its success can only be
explained by extreme conditions
Assumes that populist radical right values are opposed to western values, but there is a slight
potential for them to exist in western societies. They will only arise in extreme conditions,
such as a crisis
The dominant problem is our ever-changing society, which forces individuals to constantly
change and adopt. This can lead to increasing worry and aptness to radical right thoughts
Large-scale socio economic and sociocultural changes
Underlying insecurities and fears

Extremism is defined as the antithesis to democracy, extremism rejects the belief in popular
Radicalism is defined as an opposition to liberal or constitutional democracy; the core of
radicalism is monism, i.e. the belief that cleavages and ambivalence is illegitimate
Scientists studying popular right wing movements have often focused on the demand-side,
asking why there is a popular demand for populist radical right politics
Assumption that the main reason is process, such as globalization, which causes losers and
winners; the losers will support radical right parties out of protest
Assumption that demand for this right wing parties should be low during normal conditions
and rises in a crisis

The Normal Pathology Thesis Assessed

- The ideological
Core of populist radical right thinking is nativism, i.e. the belief that states should be
exclusively inhabited by the native group (the nation) and that non-native elements (people,
ideas) are fundamentally threatening to the homogenous nation-state
Belief that each nation should have its own state and each nation only one state
Authoritarianism, the idea that there is a strictly ordered society in which infringements of
authority are to be punished, is not only a basis of populist radical right, but of conservatism
Authoritarian thinking is a key aspect of secular and religious thinking, as religion teaches
people to obey to a supernatural authority
Populism divides the world into two groups: the pure people versus the corrupt elite
- The attitudinal the authors observed Eurobarometer interviews to examine the different
aspects of populist radical right ideas
Popular support against immigrants and the belief that immigrants which conduct a crime
should leave the country
High national pride
Authoritarianism seems to be upheld, as many people believe that kids would commit less
crime if they would learn to obey
Low trust and satisfaction with national democratic institutions, low trust into national
parliament and government
Specific target of populist radical right propaganda is the EU which is described as a corrupt
Moloch - 66% of citizens believe in this statement
From Normal Pathology to Pathological Normalcy

The empirical evidence shows that the normal pathology thesis does not hold up, as Western
countries do indeed show heavy traces of mainstream populist radical right thinking
in fact, the populist radical right is better perceived as a pathological normalcy [] well
connected to mainstream ideas and much in tune with broadly shared mass attitudes and
policy positions
Key ideas of populist radical right thinking can be found in the elite, as well as other social
classes, but in a moderate form

Pathological Normalcy and Academic Research


populist radical right parties have to move voters focus from socioeconomic issues to sociocultural issues, like immigration, corruption and security, which are their basis to foster
national feelings and a sense of alienation

question of issue-ownership which party concerned itself first with an issue area and can
thus claim to have the best solution
importance of successful leadership, party organisation and propaganda for the rise of populist
radical right parties

The electoral system in Germany

The German voting system in its current form was renewed in 2009, since the former one had been
declared unconstitutional and not in line with the German Basic Law (the constitution).
Every voter has two votes one is casted for the preferred candidate in the district and the second
is casted to the favoured party. The country is divided into 299 voting districts and every candidate
who wins in his district directly gets a seat in parliament.
The rest of the 598 seats of the Bundestag (the lower chamber or Federal Diet) are allocated according
to the percentage of the vote received nationwide, this is based on the voters second party vote.
Parties have to pass a five percent threshold to be allowed to send a representative to the Bundestag
in Berlin. This threshold is deemed necessary to prevent right-wing parties from entering the
Bundestag and to prevent fragmentation into too many small parties.
Each party designs a list with its potential candidates. Those members of parliament that receive a
seat from the vote percentage stem from those party lists. The partys state-by-state result and the size
of each state determine how many candidates enter the Bundestag.
Since every voter has two votes and many people do not cast both votes for the same party, a party
might receive more seats according to the proportionate (second vote) process than through their direct
vote. To make up for imbalances, excess votes are available and granted to the affected parties to
ensure that their share of seats is in line with the number of second votes they received.
Those excess votes lead to a number of seats in the Bundestag that is actually higher than the
formal 598. The limit is set to 800 members.
It is important to bear in mind that a party that wins a seat through the first vote directly gets a seat in
the Bundestag. They can thus skip the five percent threshold and still receive a seat. This way,
independents and extremist party can enter the Bundestag.
If a party fails to overcome the five percent threshold but wins the first vote in at least three districts, it
receives additional seats based on its percentage of the vote.

Readings Tutorial 5
Gallagher et al Chapter 4

Constitutions, Judges, and Politics

Constitutions and judges act as an important constraint upon elected representatives

The courts are relevant when there is a situation in which it is unclear what exactly the
constitution or rules spell out
Increasing growth of juridical power juridification

The origins of constitutions

a body of rules that specifies how all other legal rules are to be produced, applied, and
Regulates relationship between different actors (parliaments, governments, presidents, courts),
defines the power of each
Form of pre-commitment political actors creating a constitution freely set limits to their
future action
Constitution have changed in history of each country with different waves of constitutional
change; they mark a new start, such as change in political regime or achievement of national
When country shifts from autocracy to democracy it usually adopts a new constitution, same is
valid for post-communist countries
Britain has no need for a constitution since nothing major happened in the last centuries, no
regime change since 1688 and continuity
What then makes up the British constitution (unformal)? statute law (fundamental pieces of
legislation), EU treaties, European Convention on Human Rights, common law (customs such
as supremacy of parliament and major judicial decisions), convention (certain things are not
allowed since it is generally accepted in the political elite not to do so)
The British constitution is in fact written, but not formulated in one single text
Only few European countries have adopted their constitutions by referendum, usually a
process enforced by representative organs
Constitution usually stipulate the organization of government (parliamentary or presidential),
power of legislature, role of judiciary, power division between national organs of government
and provincial bodies, number of rights

Constitutional traditions

Predominance of American constitution which is seen as above everything else

France: opposite is the case, as the constitution is not seen as the basis of the French nation,
but as an emanation of the nation, which is prior to every institution. In France, constitutions
come and go
European constitutions impose important constraints on government and parliament but are
less decisive for the people than in America. None rely identifies with his constitution and it is
rather viewed in instrumental, than in emotional or patriotic terms

Amending a Constitution

A constitution that is difficult to amend clearly restraints its nation more than one that can be
easily changed
Constitutional changes usually require more than a simple parliamentary majority
Some require a referendum (Denmark, Ireland, Romania, Switzerland)
In some countries, minor changes can be made by parliamentary consent, but bigger changes
require the consent of the people (Austria, Estonia, Iceland, Malta)

The appointment of judges

Constitutional judges
Members of constitutional courts are mainly appointed by political authorities
Often appointed by supermajority (more than 60% or similar) in parliament
Usually only possible to serve for one term to prevent them from acting in a way to attract
second election; terms vary between six to twelve years

Exception France: the constitutional council is made up of political actors only, who are
appointed by the President, the president of the Senate and the president of the lower house of
parliament, who each appoint three members for the council most of those members have a
legal background
- The court system
The option of dismissing a judge because he gave decisions that were inconvenient to the
government is legally possible, but would be a destructive move as it shows to the public
unjustified political interference in the judicial process
In Greece, appointment and promotions of judges depend on the government, wherefore the
judges are almost always supportive of the government and decide in line with the
governments interests
In Italy, the judges are seen as heavily politicized, and they align with certain parties in
exchange for extra-judicial assignments
Judicial Review

Constitutional review: power to strike down legislation which is based on the constitution
Difference in the judges capability to make law depends on the legal system: common law
(UK, Ireland judge-based law) or civil law (all other European countries code-based law)
The differences between the two systems have become less distinct, as UK and Ireland have
such an extensive volume of legislation that they do not have to make law or decisions based
on the judges opinion; in the civil law countries, precedent law has become increasingly
- Concrete judicial review is challenging of a specific case, while abstract judicial review
implies the consideration of law without reference to a specific case
Concrete judicial review can be initiated by any defendant in a court case, abstract law can
only be initiated by a certain amount of people (head of state, PM, members of parliament)
Strong judicial review

Constitutional court designed to control that all laws are in line with the constitution
Second model is a country without a dedicated constitutional court an ordinary court
system (Ireland) or a body attached to it (Estonia) exercises the power of constitutional review
- Strongest constitutional court is the German Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, which
can make abstract and concrete review. Ordinary courts cannot make constitutional review but
have to refer to the constitutional court
Interpretation in conformity with the constitution this mechanism enables the court to
approve a government bill but only when it is interpreted in the way the court interpreted it
- Importance of constitutional courts in post-communist countries, especially in clarifying the
power and roles between president and prime minister
They all made decisions with major political consequences
- France: the constitutional council is heavily influenced by partisan politics and in a constant
struggle with the leading party in the government
- Ireland: constitutional review by the ordinary court system the high court and the supreme
court can exercise concrete and abstract review; only the President of Ireland can refer bills to
the court for review
The court uses a creative approach and considers what the constitution claims to say and not
what it literally says. This has led to very debated decisions
Weak judicial review

- Britain: no constitution thus the judges cannot really consider conformity with the constitution
Judges have stepped in to fill the constitutional vacuum and thus became troublesome to
government they can prevent ministers from exercising power that exceeds their legal
Citizens frequently address the court for judicial review
Judges scrutinize if government bills are in line with the European Convention on Human
- Netherlands: courts are expressly prohibited to consider the constitutionality of laws but they
can declare them ultra vires (acts that go beyond the power of the legislature) and they can
annul acts that contravene the European Treaties
- Switzerland: the highest court can strike down acts passed by the cantons but not by the
federal parliament
- Scandinavia: judicial review has never been a strong feature of the courts, there are no
Kelsenian courts (constitutional courts), judicial review is however on the rise and more often
being used
Judicial review and representative government

Since parliaments mostly act in line with governments instead of controlling them, the courts
have to take upon themselves this function
- Government ministers have to ensure that their proposals are in line with the judiciarys ideas
- Critics: judicial review goes against the principles of representative government as it puts
power into the hand of a few unelected who can override the wishes of those who were
democratically elected
Courts act behind closed doors
- Three simplistic models that set out to explain the judges behaviour: acting strictly in line
with the constitution (fiat Justitia, ruat caelum let justice be done, though the heavens should
fall); the second model sees them as only following their own interests; or judges as caught in
the pawns of party interest of the party that is responsible for their nomination, which makes
the court rather a third chamber than an independent body
John Ferejohn, Judicializing Politics, Politicizing Law

Courts gained considerable power and control in three ways: courts have been increasingly
able and willing to limit the exercise of parliamentary authority by imposing limits on the
power of legislature; courts have become places where substantive policy is made; judges are
increasingly willing to regulate the conduct of political activity itself by constructing standards
for acceptable behaviour of interest groups, political parties
Proposals need to be framed in a way to ensure they wont be struck down by court
legal/constitutional considerations assume new and sometimes decisive importance in ordinary
Ordinary judges, constitutional justices, and the justices of the European Courts can now
review legislation in Europe
Author argues that some decisions should rather be taken in legislature, while others should be
discussed in courtrooms

Legislative Power

Kelsenian courts: constitutional courts they exercise negative and positive legislative
powers. Negative power implies striking down legislature that is not in line with the

constitution. Positive power than comes in since the legislative vacuum needs to be filled and
the act in question has to be reconstructed
Constraints on the constitutional courts are self-imposed, i.e. norms and principles, as well as
precedent law that has been developed over years

The Politics of Law-making

the duty of judges and legal officers is to provide fair and unbiased tribunals before which
conflicting parties can settle their disputes under pre-existing accepted legal norms
- Citizens have no claim to overturn court rulings or to influence the judges opinions
This assumption is nowadays seen as too simplistic
- Courts have made decisive decisions with political impact, wherefore political actors looked
for ways to constrain or influence the court, such as organizing campaigns to impeach sitting
justices, influence the composition of courts in the appointment process
- Judges have to clearly justify and explain their decisions, otherwise they wont have a great
impact legislators, on the other side, do not have to justify their decisions to such an extent,
as they can simply claim that those voters who are dissatisfied should vote someone else
- Judges have the important advantage that they consider rules in light of a specific situation and
can outline the shortcomings and injustices of the rule, while law-makers have a hard time
predicting the actual outcome and impact of their laws

Explaining Judicialization

Fragmentation hypothesis: increasing fragmentation of power within the political branches

limits the legislatures capacity; people then turn to courts who can pose solutions and are
stable institutions
- Rights hypothesis: courts can be trusted to protect a wide range of important values against
potential political abuse as human rights became more important and enshrined in
conventions, the courts crystallized as the main actor who could ensure that the human rights
were being respected
- Courts had and have to ensure that ordinary law-making is based on fundamental values
This was the main task of the newly established constitutional courts
- European legal institutions as a prime example of fragmentation
Judicial Regulation of Politics
Importance of direct regulation of political activity by the courts they strictly fight against
any form of questionable political and partisan behaviour
- Often courts aim on excluding previous excluded minorities and to work against the
established main parties
- Courts increasing willingness to impose constitutional restrictions on legislatures can be
explained in terms of its increasing political independence of the other branches
In the legislative area, the court can not merely make rules but alter the internal processes in
the legislature

Explaining Politicization

Courts and agencies are capable of independent or autonomous action where the constitutional
legislature is too fragmented to react
Problem: when courts have the ability to make final and political decisions, those with an
interest in the policy-outcome will seek to influence the court and its appointment/composition

Judicization of politics thus leads to politicization of courts

Legislators cannot control judicial rule-making and thus has to try to affect the composition of
courts in advance
This only applies to American courts; European courts are less partisan and their ideology is
more centrist, but the constitutional courts are still very political


Courts are well suited to make certain kinds of legislative rules, such as those that need to be
developed in light of repeated experience in use and that concern themselves with equality,
due process and justice
Rules that require technical experience are better formulated in legislature, where an extensive
body of specialists has the necessary knowledge
Requirement of a supermajority for appointment of judges would be helpful in America, as it
ensures that the judge is elected based on agreement between all ideological groups and
A second change would be to fix the judicial terms instead of life-long office
More of a consensus-driven court as in Europe would be the effect of the above two changes
to American court system

Constitutional Courts and Parliamentary Democracy

Alec Stone Sweet

The constitutions and separation of powers


Kelsenian court as a particular institutional solution to a particular institutional problem: how

does a polity guarantee the normative superiority of the constitution and of human rights
provisions, without empowering the judiciary?

The old constitutionalism: Legislative Supremacy and Separation of Powers


Historically in Europe, political hostility towards judges prevailed and there was a clear
separation of power doctrine, which stated that judicial review of the constitution was
prohibited, the courts had no right to jurisdiction over fundamental rights and the judicial was
subjugated to the legislature aim was to uphold legislative dominance

The New Constitutionalism


Waves of democratization changed rule of courts and included human rights in the
constitutions and only a constitutional court was to access and review the constitutionality of
legislative action

Kelsens Court

Exclusive and final constitutional jurisdiction

Jurisdiction is restricted to the settling of constitutional disputes
Constitutional courts have links with, but are formally detached from, the legislature and
They can review legislative acts before it has been enforced to prevent unconstitutionality
before it can harm someone

Positive and Negative Legislator

Parliaments are positive legislators, since they make laws freely, subject only to the
constraints imposed by the constitution
Constitutional judges are negative legislators, because their power is restricted to annulling a
statute when it conflicts with the constitution

Constitutional Bargains

Scope of constitutional rights in the German, Italian, French and Spanish constitutions is far
more extensive than the American counterpart bill of rights. It includes traditional rights and
freedoms (speech, assembly, religion, equality before the law and due process), as well as
newer rights (rights on education, employment, trade union activity, development of
personality and leisure)
The European constitutions also list duties of citizen and state (citizen duty to pay taxes,
educate the children state duty to provide public health care, free education, unemployment
Majority of rights are, however, expressly limited (i.e. an article stating the right to property,
with a following one outlining that this right can be deprived when for the public benefit)

Constitutional Courts
Constitutional contracting the author assumes that all contracts can be said to be incomplete
since they cannot fully grasp all the details of the commitments made. The situations might
change and the interests of the parties to the contract will also vary, wherefore it is necessary
to create a body that then can interpret the contract, which is usually merely based on broad
goals and objectives of cooperation
- The European constitutions are marked by vague and broad formulations, which facilitated
agreement when creating the constitutions, but now leaves scope for interpretation
This leads to the need for constitutional reviews as a response to an incomplete contract


Three types of review jurisdiction:

1) Abstract review the review of legislation takes place in the absence of litigation (a
concrete case)
Only can be initiated by selected people and in a specific time frame to challenge an act that
has not yet been adopted or not yet been applied
2) Concrete review review in a concrete case, the review is a separate stage in an ongoing
judicial process in an ordinary court
Initiated by the judiciary referring a question to the constitutional court
3) Individual complaint procedure an individual challenges the violation of a constitutional
right by a public act or government official
Individuals and the Ombudsman have the right to go directly to the constitutional court once
judicial remedies have been exhausted

Through election or nomination

Nomination France; the appointing authority names a judge and no veto procedure exists
Election need for qualified majority in the parliament

Mechanisms of controlling constitutional judges

Direct controls are formal (established by explicit rules) and negative (they annul or revise the
courts decisions
Indirect controls are informal and indirect indirectly threaten the agent to make him act in
line with the principals interests

Constitutional Adjudication and Parliamentary Governance


Which impact do constitutional courts have on parliamentary governance?

Kelsen was right. The delegation of rights jurisdiction to a constitutional organ, effectively
insulated from political controls, has engendered the gradual but inevitable collapse of
separation of powers doctrines. Today, ministers and parliamentarians govern with
constitutional judges. And the judiciary, partly in interactions with constitutional judges, has
radically expanded its capacity to control policy outcomes.

Comparative Politics Readings Week 6

Gallagher et al.

Levels of Governance

Much of the business of running a country real life governance- is about administering the
machinery of the state practical decisions that give expression to the general principles that
have been formulated in the arenas of representative politics
Large part of governance is thus concerned with the relationship between politics and public
Where is public decision made? At local, regional or nation or supranational level? As the
jurisdiction of every government cannot lay out every detailed aspect, decisions need to be
taken at different levels

Politicians and the civil service


Modern European governments are made up of a cabinet chaired by a PM and composed of a

set of ministers; those ministers are not only members of the cabinet but also responsible for a
government department
The minister has to ensure that the bureaucrats in his department act in line with the rules and
Communist countries used the numenklatura system to ensure that bureaucrats acted in line
with the leading partys wishes this system implies that only individuals approved by the
party could hold civil service positions politicising the civil service was the way used to
ensure responsiveness to political decisions
Evolving western European bureaucratic tradition marked by civil service as an independent
body of professional administrators
The formal role of this body is one of a loyal and efficient administrative apparatus, neutral
implementing machine without political opinion
In practice, this is not the case, as the body is more than a simple implementation machine

Civil Service Cultures

Two broad types of western European bureaucracies:

1) British style heavy reliance on civil servants with an emphasis on peer group pressure
and socialization into a particular decision-making culture
This British civil service is mostly made up of classic scholars from prestigious private
schools and universities
Some members of staff are recruited based on their technical expertise, but the focus on
administrative and managerial skills prevails
2) European alternative more reliance on specialists and technical training; France:
specialized school that trains the civil servants and gives them technical education
Although being heavily trained, many of those students will eventually find themselves in
departments of another specialization, but what counts is the process of socialization
Germany also highly technocratic, but with a focus on legal training
Many administrators are mainly interested in expanding their field of expertise and exercise
instead of maximizing their budget

The politicization of senior bureaucrats


Ministers want to make sure that their decisions are passed down and implemented in line with
their ideas
Likewise, the ministers are dependent on technical advice provided by the bureaucrats to make
decisions that are in line with public interest; this information should be independent and not
Balancing act required to find the right point between independent information and ensuring
that bureaucrats act in line
Former communist countries started to depoliticise their bureaucracies to overcome the
nomenklatura system; as this system had been employed for many years, however, they still
had to rely on former bureaucrats
In Western European countries, the trend has been towards politicization of the civil service,
but it is nowhere as grave as in the U.S., where a change of the President usually leads to
change of most of the civil service
In Britain and Ireland, the civil service culture has traditionally been very nonpartisan. The
new minister does not know who sits in his department. This can either be negative, with both
parties not getting along, or can be positive, as the civil servants are proud to serve their
Some British ministers have appointed their own civil servants, mistrusting those that had
been provided beforehand
High level of politicization in continental European senior civil services (Belgium, France,
Germany). In France, ministerial cabinets were established which are bodies of ministerial
advisors those bodies comprise about twenty policy professionals to which the minister can
refer for special information, advice on developments outside the department
The cabinets are mostly made up of civil servants
In most European countries, ministers can rely on some sort of team or individuals for advice

Conclusion: the increasing accountability of public servants?


Public bureaucrats are in many senses politicians in their own right

Senior civil servants make important decisions about policy implementation
Civil servants are responsible for a great share of the preliminary work that will then affect
development of policy initiatives

Public Management and Politics: Senior Bureaucrats in France

Luc Rouban

Predominance of public civil services in France

Politicization of senior positions along party lines, challenges to the states central role in
domestic policy through rising power of local governments and European integration,
privatization of public companies and dismantling of economic public sector are all factors
that have challenged and changed the French system in the last years
Relations between politicians and bureaucrats are obscure and not publicly debated, there is a
lack of any doctrine determining this relationship

Senior Bureaucrats: A Profile


French civil service is caught between two rationales, one being dominated by the tendency to
employ graduates from elite universities, and the other one attempting to make the civil
service as democratic as possible, thus allowing every citizen access
This attempt however proved to be a myth
Attempts have been made in the last years to get a higher share of women and immigrants into
the civil service
Another trend is that many experts are employed via contract and thus part of the private,
rather than the public sector blurring lines between private and public sector
Do senior bureaucrats still belong to the countrys elite?
Educational level remains high among the senior bureaucrats
Young business school graduates also enter the civil service now with interest in
managerial positions
Civil service career remains highly attractive

Civil servants and their political choices


Civil servants have a high societal position

Political preferences have a strong influence on how civil servants view the states role and
defend political options or sensitive policies
Affinity for left-wing political parties among public sector managers
Surely, those civil servants that are appointed by the minister and can be dismissed by him
anytime will support his political line; but also permanent members tend to support the
political line of the minister they are subordinated to
Weight of political culture explains the precaution that government has to take when
launching reforms to avoid civil servants resistance
Large gap between the right wing and left wing managers and their support for different
policies and areas, such as social justice, individual freedom

Is there a French specificity?


Difference between French system of bureaucracy and that in other European countries
French civil servants are those who position themselves most frequently on the leftImportance of mutual trust - lowest degree of mutual trust among French wage earners from
private and public sector

The politicization process and evolution of roles


The Politics of Politicization in Sweden

Carl Dahlstrm and Birgitta Niklasson

The politicization dilemma


Political-administrative relations as a question of good governance and efficient

Promotion of merit-based recruitment instead of political recruitment to create a professional
In reality, politicians have a high interest in influencing the administration this occurs
through selecting officials that are in line with the governments ideas
Too much politicization as a risk to democratic representation and affecting legitimacy
Purpose of the article is to explain why politicians politicize administration despite the
inherent dangers of such a move through three different explanations: ideological orientation
of the government party (ideology), the degree of dominance over the state apparatus
displayed by the governing party (the entrenchment hypothesis- time in office), and the
parliamentarian support of the same (the power base- minority hypothesis)
The findings suggest that the explanations lack empirical support and that new explanations
are thus required to explain politicization

Politicization of public administration: trends and explanations


In politicized recruitment processes, the political affiliation prevails over merit-based criteria
and special knowledge in selection and promotion of civil servants
This phenomenon can be found in almost all countries
US: ideological mismatch between governing party and the public service has led to
politicization of the administrative body
Social Democrats in Sweden have pushed hardest for politicization already in 1946-69
The question who is responsible for this development in Sweden is heavily discussed
The Social Democratic government (1994-2006) was accused by the opposition of
creating a public administration apparatus to their liking and titled this an illegitimate use
of the state apparatus as a means of power
Time in office also matters as loyal supporters might get rewarded
so-called entrenched parties (parties that have been in control of the legislature for at
least two years), on the other hand, are much better at exploiting the potential of political
recruitment successfully. They have the experience, the routines, and the networks to
make political appointments to important civil service positions
Inexperienced parties, that have been out of office for a longer time, simply miss the
capacity to control the civil service appointments
Politicization is thus not a matter of ideology, but rather of entrenchment, which explains why
in the USA the Republicans are more prone to enhance politicization, whereas in Sweden the
Social Democrats are the ones politicising
Politicization is more likely to occur when there is uncertain or weak parliamentarian support
for the incumbent government. When government enjoys a majority in parliament, they do not
have to retreat to using politicization as a means of power
This argument is, however, not empirically proven and contested

Politicized recruitment to the Swedish agencies, 1960-2010

Large proportion of Directorate-Generals (DGs) has a political background

Rise of proportion of agency heads with party political background sharply from 1960
until 1980, where it was at its peak; from then on, the amount slowly declined but
remained somewhat constant until the mid-2000s. A sharp decline in 2004-2010
No difference in how left- or centre-right governments handle the recruitment of DGs (47%
and 45% of recruitment was political) ideology thus does not seem to matter
Decline of political recruitment since the new centre-right government came into office in
2006 and promised to decrease the number of politically elected public servants; this argument
does not proof that it was the ideology of the new government that led to the change, as
decline in politicization was already found two years earlier
Observation of the political background of the newly appointed DGs shows that 80% of the
appointed GDs in a left government are associated with the Social Democrats (not
surprisingly, as they have been ruling most of the time). But 53% of the centre-right
governments political appointees have also had a Social Democratic background
Both, centre-right and left-parties tend to recruit DGs from the Social Democratic
one explanation is that there is simply a higher number of Social Democratic civil servants
available, as new governments are obliged to find places for the former civil servants who are
entitled a job with same salary and status as previously held. Job of a DG fulfils those criteria
another explanation is that the centre-right DGs prefer changing to an employment in the
private sector
The share of Social Democrats among the politically appointed DGs has decreased and there
has been a decrease from 90% to 60% over time, with 40% of politically appointed officials
being centre-right nowadays
New governments of all political colours take the opportunity to recruit DGs from their own
ideological background
there is no reason to suspect that the ideological bias of a government matters to the level
of politicization; left and centre-right governments appear to make political appointments
when they can and more or less to the same extent
Entrenchment hypothesis: it appears that new governments waste no time but immediately
politicize their administration, wherefore the entrenchment has a negative effect
Experience and networks of entrenched governments do not lead to higher politicization
There does not seem to be any evidence for the minority hypothesis, i.e. the idea that
governments only make use of politicization when they are in a minority and have to secure
their power base, because a parliamentary majority is against them


Political appointments to DG positions cannot be explained by the ideological bias of the

parties in power - left and centre-right governments make political appointments at same
Political appointments do not increase with the years that government is in power on the
contrary, non-entrenched governments politicize more
Parliamentary base does not seem to matter, as politicization occurs regardless if government
is dependent on parliamentary support
None of the employed explanations helps explain politicization in Sweden between 1960-2010
Other kinds of politicization might better explain the whole process
Functional politicization civil servants in practice playing the part of political advisors
by writing speeches and advising their political superiors

Structural politicization there were major reforms in 2008 in Sweden that restructured
the government agencies. DGs have now responsibility for public agencies and are
supported by advisory councils. The government appoints these advisory councils, who
are supposed to provide technical knowledge and expertise. The councils are mostly made
up of representative from political parties and interest organizations

Comparative Politics Readings Week 7

Gallagher et al.

Chapter 10

Inside European Political Parties


modern democracy is unthinkable save in terms of the parties (Schattschneider)

What do parties do?


Parties perform a number of tasks crucial for the operation of modern political systems
1) Political parties structure the political world
If there were no parties connecting different members and key actors of government and
parliament, there would be chaos - example for this was the Fourth Republic France prior to
1958 which had a great amount of parliamentary groups and no internal cohesion
Parties structure the political world for us voters voters do not have a particular view on
every political issue, but rather vote for a party and follow the partys ideas on different
2) Parties recruit and socialize the political elite
Necessity to be part of a political party that selects you as an election candidate to enter
To become a government minister, it is often necessary to be a party senior member first
Socialization process within parties and adoption of the party line and discipline
This party discipline makes the behaviour of politicians more predictable and stable
3) Parties provide linkage between rulers and ruled
Parties are a way to link the voters to the political world and provide information to voters
4) Parties aggregate interests
Contrary to interest groups, parties have to tackle a broad range of issues and propose
solutions to a wide variety of problems
They thus offer the voter a choice of alternatives and thus give the voters a chance to
indirectly influence the governments policy

Basic party organization


Party members belong to a local unit, the branch

those branches are ideally found throughout the country to access all citizens
the branches have a say in selecting election candidates and can frequently send
representatives to the partys annual conference
the delegates at this annual conference then elect the national executive of the party, who is
responsible for party representation, organization and solving internal disputes
the partys head office is the administrative body of the party, a permanent body
the parliamentary party or caucus comprises the elected deputies
European party organization differs from country to country

France: fragmentation of parties into different sub-groups or factions. Those groups either
cooperate or sometimes compete for power in the party Factionalization
Other parties have interest groups attached to them Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Britain
every European political party is a political system in its own right

Party membership

Who becomes a party member?

Share party affiliation, pay an annual membership fee and indicate that one accepts the
principals of the party
The exact number of party members is often unknown, and only a minority of party
supporters are actually also party members
Parties might claim to have more members than they actually have to extend their
Higher amount of party members means higher allowance for national representation,
wherefore some members even pay shadow membership fees to make it seem that there
are more members
Iceland: on paper an exceptionally high proportion of party members (30% of electorates
claimed to be part of a party) there is no membership fee and many people see
themselves as party members simply by voting for the party. Actual number of people
carrying out party work is about 0.5 to 1% of the electorate
The smaller the country, the higher the amount of party membership
Austria: over one in six Austrians belong to a political party and the parties have a great
impact on everyday life, even determining which job one can have in case of public sector
Malta: even higher amount of party members, mostly belonging to one of the two
predominant parties (Labour and the Nationalist Party). The National Party even has an
own travel agency and runs sports tournaments
Overall decline in membership numbers 1980-2000 this can be explained looking at the
reasons why people join parties in first place (gain a tangible reward, such as a public
office or pursue a political career (material); solidary, be part of a team and experience
comradeship; purposive, i.e. to pursue a specific aim and advance a political goal)
In post-communist countries, partisanship was never seen as desirable and there were low
membership rates throughout. There is merely no link between parties and society as
parties come and go. Parties make only vague promises and there is uncertainty if the
party will survive long enough to actually implement its policy ideas. Parties did not
evolve over time as in other European countries, but were imposed by the elite
All in all, party members tend to be male, middle-aged and middle-class, not being
representative for the average voter
This decline in membership gives rise to the assumption that the linkage between parties
and society is weakened and that parties are less firmly embedded in civil society now
it might be reasonable to regard them not as constituting part of civil society with
which party membership has traditionally been associated but rather as constituting the
outer ring of an extended political class

The activities of party members


Most active at election time, campaigning at grassroots level

Only few members are active, attending local branch meetings

Those participating are said to be more interested in organization than politics and care more
about reaching a high position

Power within parties


Three key areas in which conflict may arise within parties

1) The party manifesto and programme
Formal declaration in which a party outlines what it wants to change when entering
government, party programme, statement of aims and aspirations
This manifesto is generally updated every few years and party members often differ in their
opinions on what to include
Parties feel the urgent need to have a manifesto and thus eventually solve this problem and
they are aware that voters most likely wont read the manifesto
Voters also know that the parties often do not stick to the aims they set themselves beforehand
The content of the manifesto can hardly be said to determine the behaviour of their party
ministers once they get into office
2) Election of the party leader
During election time, much focus will be on the party leader
In some parties it is hard to distinguish who is the party leader, as there is a party president, a
parliamentary leader, a party chairperson
Denmark, Ireland and Netherlands the parliamentary group (comprising the elected
deputies) plays a major role in choosing the leader
Austria, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden the party congress or convention picks the
Third alternative is to directly vote among the entire membership
3) Selection of the parliamentary candidates
Individuals who are allowed to use the partys label when they stand for election
Only people selected as candidates can become members of parliament and in almost al
governments, ministers are former members of parliament
This makes candidate selection a crucial step for the political recruitment process
European parties control their own candidate selection, contrary to American-style selection
which is opened to everyone
The process is regulated by law only in a few countries and parties are usually treated as
private bodies that can do what they want
Iceland as the only European country that opens up the candidate selection to all citizens and
not limits it to party members. This opens the door to passive membership when people
merely become party members to cast their vote for the candidate
The countries electoral system affects the candidate selection process as countries with a
single-member constituency system can only allow one member per constituency to be picked
PR systems allow for several candidates from one party to be picked
Which characteristics make up the usual candidate? local roots, solid record as a party
member; sometimes parties offer candidacy to a non-member to boost the partys votes
In some countries, parties have to ensure that a certain number of candidates are female, but
the consequence of not respecting this is merely a cut of state-supplied finance which is not
enough to make parties switch a favoured male set of candidates for less strong women
It doesnt matter who within the party votes for the candidate, but that it is someone from
within the party, as members will in the end have similar ideas and preferences
European MPs thus have to put the party first, last and always

Disciplined and cohesive political parties are central to European parliamentary democracy
and party control to candidate selection is essential to this

Sources of party finance


Money needed to run their organization, to pay their head office staff, telephone bills, hold
annual conferences, support research institutions and to fight election campaigns
Membership fees (usually makes up about of party revenue), parties might force their
parliamentary deputies and government ministers to pay some part of their income to the
party, fund-raising internal sources of finance
External sources interest groups support parties financially, private or corporate donors,
state gives money to political parties
State finance to overcome the selective support from corporations and private donors and thus
give every party a chance
The private and corporate donors support parties for trade-offs, such as introduction of a
specific policy once the party get into government
This is specifically likely to happen in countries with no laws compelling parties to
disclose their financial sources
West Germany first to introduce state funding in 1959: parties winning more than 0.5% of the
vote in an election receive 0.85 for each of the first four million votes and 0.70 for each
vote above this, as well as matching funds for the membership fees and donations
It is prescribed in Germany that parties cannot be predominantly be funded by the state,
wherefore the states support must be lower than what the party raised itself
German parties thus receive a lot of money and some is always left that they give to their likeminded parties in the post-communist countries
In all countries, parties receive money in approximate proportion to their electoral strength
Pros and cons heavily debated; pro: it frees the parties from dependency on wealthy bankers
and thus reduces corruption in general
In the end, there is room left for corruption, as seen in Italy where high state funding did
not prevent corruption. In post-communist countries, the laws on transparency are pretty
unclear and lash and thus leave scope for ongoing corruption
Supporters of state finance argue that without the states support, corruption would be
even higher and that there is in fact no decline in membership simply because parties are
not dependent on membership fees anymore. Some parties might not find wealthy private
persons to fund them as they do not represent their interests (e.g. Green parties). State
funding is supposed to be without strings attached and to make the whole election game
Some argue that parties are private bodies and should not be funded by the state, while
others argue that parties are at the core of the functioning of our democracy
Unless parties have the money to explore and expand policy options, and to conduct
research into the feasibility of their ideas, the country as a whole could suffer from the
inadequately thought-out policies they promote
In Europe, candidates do not need huge sums of money to fight their election campaigns
as the message itself and not ones financial sources count
Parties are thus less dependent on non-party groups as is the US, which shows the
dominance of the party over candidate, which is in sharp contrast to the US

The Changing Shape of European Parties


Change over time along with their environment

in 19th century, parties described as cadre parties, dominated by local notables who were often
the parties MPs, who got support from a local group (often no party members)
first half of 20th century, mass parties arose large number of fee-paying members, a sizeable
permanent bureaucracy in the head office, and a clear policy programme
as mass media developed, the parties did not need large numbers of members anymore to
spread their message
class lines became less sharp and welfare systems developed wherefore there was no need for
anti-system parties
post-war catch-all parties tried to win votes from all sections of society and focus on broad
issues affecting everyone, such as health and education services
it seems that parties do not need large numbers of members anymore, since mass media
facilitates spread of information and voters also became more volatile, suffering from
information overload (beginning to vote based on subjective aspects such as sympathy for one
party leader)
party members that were committed were seen as an obstacle, as they would be committed to
certain party principles and thus hinder party leaders from quickly changing their direction
members joining a party nowadays are not thriven by material or solidary aims, but follow
purposive aims and are thus highly inclined to reach their goal. Party members now tend to be
more extreme than the average voter
party leaders might prefer to prevent activist members from making their opinion known to
the public as voters prefer united parties
Organizational structure of parties changes as well direct rather than representative
democracy within parties, giving members the chance to vote on specific issues
Some argue that this gives the party leaders more freedoms as the single members are
more passive than members acting collectively through the former branch structure (where
decision-making was made through votes of collective branches and not by single
New forms of parties: cartel party, a party that is dependent on the state instead of linking
society and state. This definition sees party internal organisation as stratarchies, independent
levels that act autonomously without a clear hierarchy - parties seen as franchise systems, like
a fast food chain producing an outcome that is distributed through a local network
Other scholars argue (Koole) that there is no stratarchy, since members from all levels have a
huge interest in ensuring that other members do not act out of the party line and want to
influence what is going on at each level
Koole provides the model of the modern cadre party a dominant parliamentary group which
is accountable to the members
Similar idea is that of the network party policy devised through informal networks rather
than formal processes
Basic characteristics of all modern parties: parties are financed primarily by the
state, dominated by the upper echelons (leader and MPs), have a membership base
that almost always amounts to less than 10% of their voters, and preserve the formal
mechanisms of internal party democracy, which has a continuing constraint on the
leaders freedom of manoeuvre

The future of European parties


Parties are unlikely to decline in the future

Three levels of party: party in the electorate or on the ground (which is indeed declining with
lower membership rates); party in the public office (elected representatives and their

organizational support); party in central office (headquarters and central organs of the party)
party at level 2 and 3 is not declining
Parties seen as essential for working of representative government
Citizens often distrust their parties, but still see them as essential for the working of
Parties also will continue to have members, as in the end, active members promoting their
party are most convincing
Members provide legitimacy as the party leader then become a clique answerable to their
members; make the parties visibly at local level and provide a linkage between local level
(voters) and the party body itself

Chapter 13

Politics outside Parliaments

Large part of representative government in Europe takes place outside the formal structures
Civil society has impact on political processes two models explain how this happens
Other alternative explanations are social partnership, tripartism and policy networks, which
are a mix of the corporatist and pluralist model

Corporatism The corporatist model


Fascist corporatism (1920s, 1930s) as a system of totalitarian state control of society and
domination of major interest groups by the state
In the Post-War area, forms of thought linked to fascism were discredited wherefore they are
described as neo or liberal corporatism
Catholic social thought also played into modern corporatism church wanted to ensure the
role of the church in the 20th century
The church thus promoted self-governing interest groups that were described as the
voluntary sector. These groups would be involved in planning and providing social
services (health care, education) and predominantly consist of Catholics. This way, the
separation of church and state in formal terms would be preserved, while allowing for
heavy representation of church interests
Impulse for national unity as a third factor influencing neo-corporatism. After the second
World War, states experienced a feeling of unity and a desire to unite right and left
Different ideas of what corporatism is: either a system of centralized wage bargaining between
government and social partners of organized labour and business or as a mechanism deeply
rooted in the political system, that entrenches major social groups in the management of the
national economy and other aspects
Siaroff: corporatism implies that within an advanced industrial society and democratic
policy, the co-ordinated, co-operative, and systematic management of the national economy
by the state, centralized unions, and employers (these latter two cooperating directly in
industry), presumably to the relative benefit of all three actors
Siaroff defines four areas that make up corporatist policy-making:
1) Structural preconditions
Workers are organized into a small number of powerful unions; a small number of powerful
firms dominated business and is organized into an employers federation; centralized wagebargaining between unions and employers and the powerful state that is involved in the
2) Behavioural patterns and roles fulfilled by key actors

Employers and unions make and implement policy, i.e. sanctioning those who do not comply
with wage deals. Consensus on broad social values is shared by state, unions and employers to
enable corporatism to work. Solutions are not imposed from above but bargained solutions
3) Contextual factors
Long tradition of democratic rule, a small and open economy and high expenditure on social
programmes and low expenditure on defence

The possibility of implementing policy, through sanctioning or other ways, is what makes
corporatism special

Corporatist countries in mid 1990s: big three (Austria, Norway and Sweden), moderately
corporatist countries (Germany, Netherlands, Denmark) and least corporatist (Iceland,
Belgium, Luxembourg), as well as hardly corporatist at all (Britain, Portugal, France, Greece,
Spain and Italy, Ireland

Corporatism in Austria

Classical example for corporatist policy making

European Union membership and more confrontational party politics have pushed Austrian
more to European mainstream in last years
Important role of the chambers that represented labour, commerce and agriculture formallythey played a vital role in policy-making
Extensive system of voluntary interest groups, such as the League of Austrian Industrialists
and the peak trade union organization (GB) who act as bodies of collective interest
The three chambers and the GB interacted as the key actors in making and implementing
economic policy and more cooperation than opposition with the parliament system
there has been an intimate interpenetration of interest groups and parliament, a symbiosis
seen by many as one of the strength of Austrian corporatism

Tripartism and Social partners


Key characteristic of corporatism the tripartie integration between government and the two
key partners trade unions and employers associations
Tripartism is more often encountered in Europe
Success of tripartism depends on the extent to which interests can be presented, which is
mainly influenced by two factors: level of trade union membership within the working
population and the extent to which national organizations for labour and employers can
bargain wages
Strong peak organizations are a necessity for effective tripartite wage bargaining, since this
allows the social actors to know for sure which organizations to address instead of discussing
with various different ones
Tripartite system is less deeply rooted than normal corporatism

Tripartism in Eastern Europe


Post-communist countries had formed first tripartite institutions in 1990s

Justification for this was that western European neo-corporatism succeeded in ensuring less
struggle between labour and capital

Many of those new tripartite commissions were relatively weak and merely had some advisory
function but government in the end set economic policy without much formal input from
organized labour
in eastern Europe the best that can be said is that tripartism means formal negotiations over
very broad issues, with no guarantee that the agreements will become law or be respected by

The decline of corporatism?


By the 1990s, institutions of corporatism appeared weak and declining in number and
corporatism was seen as a phenomenon that only works when economy is faring well
Expanding role of EU in economic policy-making, whereby governments have to surrender
more autonomy to the EU
Second trend is the increasing shift from the traditional sectors towards the service sector and
information technology
Traditional corporatist model will thus continue to decline


Many different groups influence the policy process by pressuring political elites in a rather
uncoordinated and competitive manner
The core motif is thus a disorderly and competitive system where everyone wants to have
political influence
No formal institutional role in the allocation of resources and implementation of policy
Interest groups are voluntary and self-generating, which leads to a high number of different
groups competing about members
It is relatively easy to form an interest group and thus exercise at least some political influence
Pluralists recognize that interest is not equally represented and that some groups or interest
fields have more influence, such as business assumption that some issues of debate are
removed from public debate and solely discussed between business and state
Conventional pluralist politics thus operates on secondary issues
Political pressure through the threat of sanctioning, i.e. trade unions can threaten to strike and
thus pressurize government on income and price policy
Employers can exercise power by threatening with wage-cuts or outsourcing
The most distinctive feature of the pluralist decision-making is that it is characterized by
conflict rather than consensus
It is often simply the threat of sanctions and actions such as striking that suffices this
threatening triggers negotiations that usually tend to solve the problem and conflict before
sanctioning kicks in

Pluralism in Britain

Competitive system of bargaining

Series of laws was passed to restrict the power of trade unions
Confrontation between government and the unions made tripartite system impossible, as
government, employers and unions were reluctant to cooperate

Pluralism in action: the womens movement


Feature of pluralism is that it is not restricted to sole representation of labour and capital, but
leaves room for other interests to be represented and to form groups

Recently, notion of mainstreaming gender issues arose build gender issues into the heart of
decision-making whenever key decisions are made placing women and their interests into the
process of policy-making

Pluralism in action: the environmental movement


Main impact of Green parties on mainstream environmental policy has been indirect they
could force other parties to adopt a greener approach since it became clear that Green parties
could in fact attract votes
New environmental active groups across Europe, such as Greenpeace a long-established
example of a classic outsider pressure group with a policy of mass networking and confronting
policymakers rather than cooperating
Most environmental groups have no formal access to power and thus resolve to indirect

Policy Networks

Alternative to the often as simplistic described distinction between corporatism and pluralism
Growth of importance of European peak organizations that reflect core economic interests
(such as farmers or trade unions) at the supranational level
Policy network: mutual interdependence, exchange between key agents in the policymaking
system policy influence involves interaction between actors. When those actors interact
with one another over and over again, a policy network develops both parties are mutually
dependent as they each have information valuable to the other one

Policy networks in action: doctors


Doctors have professional status and information that no other actors have
They can hence defend their professional status easily and control medical training and
Power exercised by guild-like association to which all licensed doctors must belong
This association also monitors implementation of policy
Politicians are dependent on the advice of the medical association as they themselves
cannot enforce policy or monitor implementation
This interdependence between decision-makers and interest organizations is a prime
example for a policy network

Policy networks in action: farmers


Long tradition of farm support programmes, such as state guaranteed prices

Common Agricultural Policy of the EU enshrined this tradition of cooperation
Very explicit and effective policy network at supranational level
Farmers are involved in implementation of policy, such as distributing production quotas at
the regional level

New social movements


Post-materialist or postmodern alternatives to political parties and entrenched interest

organizations: anti-racist, anti-war, anti-colonialist, anti-nuclear power
Rather fluid membership, with people drifting in and out of the movements
Exercise influence outside traditional political channels demonstrations, boycotts
This attracts new people, spreads the idea and enforces new issues on the political agenda

New social networks


Email and social networking have made international person-to-person contact and
networking cheap and effectively instantaneous and lowered the cost to zero
Facebook and Twitter
Especially Twitter is used to provide news and to share links to information


Corporatism the extent to which major public policy decisions are the outcome of
negotiations that take place, away from the public gaze, between established national peak
organizations representing fundamental economic and social interests this type of decision
making is consensual, but by-passes the conventional channels of representative government
Pluralism at almost any time and any place, groups of interested citizens may band together
to pressurize decision-makers and public representatives in a political arena that is much more
openly conflictual

Hans Keman Democratic Performance of Parties and Legitimacy in Europe


Legitimacy decline in European democracies due to weakening of democratic performance of

parties and government
Mair: parties become more self-interested and stop representing the voters interest
Legitimacy defined as popular compliance with and acceptance of political authority
Central to democratic performance is the degree of responsiveness as an outcome of parties
behaviour and responsible behaviour of parties in parliaments towards government

Legitimacy and democratic performance


Legitimacy increases when parties respond to the electorate and when government responds to
the parties responsive and responsible policy formation
Legitimate performance is seen as contributing to societal welfare, popular consent and
compliance with political authority
Parties now tend to be responsive merely for electoral reasons and responsible behaviour is
now more self-interested
parties have reduced their presence in the wider society and have become part of the state.
They have become agencies that govern rather than that they represent
Parties have the power to make or break democratic performance of government and their
self-interested behaviour can thus affect legitimacy
Two aspects of democratic performance: legality (acting in line with rule of law system) and
policy representation (degree to which parties contribute to policy choices that represent the
electorates ideas)

Exploring democratic performance: institutions party behaviour legitimacy


Indicators of democratic performance are government efficacy, trust in political institutions

and age of democracy (older democracies likely to have developed informal rules over time)
Government efficacy is seen as the capacity of government to effectively formulate and
implement policies
The older the democracy, the higher level s of legitimacy
Strong relationship between legality and legitimacy

The indicators of democratic performance are related to the measures of changes in legitimacy
Degree of government efficacy is relevant as it reflects the ability of government to actually
govern adequately in terms of responsiveness and responsible party behaviour

Party behaviour: responsiveness and responsibilities


Parties compete for votes and on the other hand attempt to make policies in government, but
being restricted by coalitions. Likewise, they are also expected to promote the common good
and not only the interests of their constituency
Linkage between electorate and the parties representing their voters appears to have become
less stable and this implies a lack of input legitimacy
The principal-agent relationship seems less effective and is not working as supposed regarding
the representation of voters in society
Parties want to gain popular consent by promoting issues that win them votes

Party government: responsibility and efficacy


Parties in government are responsive regarding their self-declared policy positions

Majority of voters are in fact represented in parliament
Linkage between parties in parliament and government appears congruent in terms of
democratic performance
Parties are less interested in responsive representation but tend to become parties of the state
Office seeking seems to be deemed more important than interest representation
Since the 1990s, self-interested party behaviour and non-responsive party governance have
increasingly harmed the levels of legitimacy


Democratic performance of European polities appears to be a result of the responsiveness of

parties toward government rather than the electorate
Congruence between interests represented in parliament and government
Age of democracy matters for legitimacy
Moreover, parties can easily gain, but as easily lose the role as a trustee increasing
volatility and growth of new parties