In European parliamentary democracies political parties control candidate selection, maintain cohesion in the legislature and support governments. In addition to these classic functions, parties also organise the legislature delegating power to legislators, specifically as committee chairs and party coordinators. Delegation is inherently dangerous, involving potential agency loss. Parties, however, have ex-ante and ex-post institutional mechanisms to deal with agency problems. In this paper, a case study is made of the Portuguese legislature, arguing that parties make use of their pivotal role in selecting legislators as committee chairs and party coordinators to keep tabs on legislators to thwart shirking from the party line. This paper finds that political parties use incumbency as an ex-ante screening mechanism of committee chairs and party coordinators in looking for reliable signals of past behaviour to decrease uncertainty. Additionally, evidence suggests that extraparliamentary party structure is used as an institutional arena for ex-post control of party coordinators.
Eines der Ziele der Föderalismusreform I war es, den Ländern durch Übertragung einer Reihe von Gesetzgebungskompetenzen in deren ausschließliche Zuständigkeit neuen autonomen Gestaltungsspielraum zu verschaffen und so mehr eigenständige Landespolitik zu ermöglichen. Inwieweit dieses Ziel erreicht werden kann, hängt wesentlich von der Art und Weise ab, in der die Länder ihre neuen Möglichkeiten wahrnehmen. Führt die Reform tatsächlich vermehrt zu eigenständiger Landespolitik oder überdauern unitarische Einflüsse, so dass es trotz neuer rechtlicher Autonomie letztlich bei koordiniertem Vorgehen und Abstimmung der Gesetze bleibt? Im vorliegenden Beitrag wird dieser Frage am Beispiel des Nichtraucherschutzes (Kompetenztitel Gaststättenrecht) nachgegangen. Hinsichtlich der Gesetze ergibt sich dabei ein „Unentschieden“ zwischen Einheitlichkeit und Vielfalt: neben großer Übereinstimmung in der allgemeinen Konzeption finden sich gleichzeitig wesentliche Unterschiede in den Detailregelungen. Basierend auf Prozessanalysen wird im Beitrag nachvollzogen, welche Faktoren im Zuge der 16 Gesetzgebungsprozesse eigenständige Landespolitik gefördert bzw. gehemmt haben.
As semi-presidentialism has become increasingly common in European democracies, so have the debates about the consequences of several of its political and institutional features. In particular, in those regimes, cohabitation between presidents and cabinets of different parties and cabinet dismissal powers on the part of presidents are thought to be a source of inter-branch conflict and government instability.However, so far, most empirical work on government survival has failed to confirm any of these expectations. This article addresses this disjuncture between theory and empirical results by making a twofold contribution.
First, it takes into account the internal diversity within semi-presidentialism, modeling the implications for government survival of different configurations between presidential powers’ of cabinet dismissal, parliament dissolution and cohabitation in European semi-presidential systems.
Second, it reconsiders traditional government survival using the competing risks framework by adding a distinction between two different types of non-electoral replacement: those where replacements imply a change in the party of the prime minister and those where they do not.Once such an approach is adopted, that presidential powers of parliamentary dissolution and cabinet dismissal indeed emerge as highly relevant for explaining government survival in these regimes.
This introduction connects some of the main themes covered in this special issue on Chancellor Merkel’s second coalition cabinet, which was formed in October 2009 and ended with the electoral collapse of the FDP in the Bundestag election of September 2013. It starts by setting out an interesting ‘puzzle’: The parties forming the coalition of 2009-2013 (CDU, CSU and FDP) had expressed a strong preference for this coalition in the run-up to the election of 2009. Despite their seeming agreement in many policy areas, the coalition formed in 2009 faced tough negotiations and conflicts between the parties from the beginning. The economic crisis the preceding government faced between 2005 and 2009 and unforeseen events during the course of the CDU/CSU-FDP coalition 2009-2013 (e.g., the Euro crisis and the Fukushima environmental disaster) had altered the policy agenda in important ways and rendered the former ‘Christian-Liberal reform project obsolete.