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Parties and party systems in contemporary democracies

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Influences on government decisions in Norway.
  3. Parties in government: The case of Germany.
  4. Party system change is roughly equivalent to electoral change.
  5. Party system change is not equivalent to electoral change.
  6. Role and importance of the median party.
  7. Impact of electoral laws on parties and party systems.
  8. European electorates and party alignments.
  9. Conclusion.
  10. Bibliography.

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). [...]


[...] Impact of electoral laws on parties and party systems Majoritarian system means power is concentrated in hands of the largest party majority in the seats of legislature but not in popular votes. Proportional system is when power is distributed among several actions identifying the majority as public, decision-making is no more concentrated. Influence of electoral laws is not only a translation of votes in seats but also permit to group opinion, to be a signal electorate identity for choice of public opinion. [...]

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