Laver and Schofield wonder what makes length of a government's life through the examples of Italy and Germany, but also of other countries. Firstly, is the number of parties of the political system related to cabinet stability? This is right in Italy, Belgium and Finland. They have a higher effective number of parties than Austria, Germany and Ireland where cabinets are longer. Nonetheless cabinet duration increased in Finland, Luxemburg and Iceland, with the size of the party system from the post-war period to the 1980s, contrary to Germany and Ireland where they went down. Countries with bigger party systems have less stable cabinet even if there is only a little or no relationship. Secondly, the composition of governments affects stability of governments, as show the examples of Italy and French Fourth Republic. Yet, coalition government in Germany, Luxemburg or Austria over the post war period was stable coalition administrations.
[...] Whereas proportional system generally produces government containing median party most of the time, in most cases and in most countries! While this is good for congruence, proportional system have a problem with responsiveness : actually how can we know which party in a coalition government or which wings in a government with different trends have responsabilities in government action, because of multistage bargaining ? The Müller-Strom's book proves electoral laws have a big influence on both parties and party systems. [...]
[...] Parties in government, case of Germany The Laver-Schofiel's work identifies three themes on parties in government : government composition, its duration and allocation of payoffs and portfolios. According to Müller-Strom book, primary aim in Germany is Office and after Policy and Votes. The center party FDP is the most powerful because more often in coalition. Interparty competition is structured by FDP central position, the Liberals, who is at the crossway of median lines identified by Laver and Schofield. Actually FDP turned to left in 1969 (SDP) : Social-Liberal coalition, then to right in 1982 (CDU). [...]
[...] Differents models such as Elite party in the 19th century, Mass party from 1880 to 1960, Catch-all party since 1945, and Cartel party since 1970 show party system change: the structure of competition had to change. But electoral change is different: people less participate and more protest. The important sequences to mobilize citizens (incorporation, mobilization, activation, and politisation) don't work very well. This conclusion seems to be incredible : while we believed party system are to strict to adapt themselves to the electoral change, we can now suppose this is the electorate who is attached to old cleavages which don't more exist and who is unable to understand the news stakes of parties competition. [...]
[...] there are strong parties away from the centre, more alternation in governments membership, and where two-blocks system tends to emerge because of the less stable governments. The fourth type is multipolar systems such as Belgium, Denmark, Italy and Finland where distribution of bargaining power makes unstable governments because of many more small changes. There are also others factors such as the norm used in allocation of portfolios, the presence of anti-system with a destabilizing effect, the degree of ideological which makes governments more difficult to form and maintain, the level of policy influence open to the opposition based on the effectiveness of the legislative committee system, the salience of elections to the government formation process, and the presence of a formal investiture requirement. [...]
[...] In fact, parties in Ireland have been constrained to work very hard in order to remain in the same place and preserve the same equilibrium wrote Mair. Can we speak of party system change in Ireland despite long-term electoral continuity? The Irish example suggests patterns of change are not a simple categorization of party system changes, but interactions among parties as systemic relevance. If European electorates seem to be frozen in cleavage structures and party alignments from 1920, this is because process of continuous social and political adaptation is the key to survival of parties. [...]
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