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4 - The Mechanics of Governing

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Political Science
POLI 212
Hudson Meadwell

4: The Mechanics of Governing: Coalition Governments in Europe Vanberg and Martin - Consensus democ regime implies prevalence of coalition gov (norm) - Coalition gov not going to be norm in majoritarian regime - Diff electoral sys (PR/first past post), party sys (#), issue space - Argument: expectation that get two parties on average  e/person has posit on that 1 imp issue (ideal point), frequency distrib of voters - Where will parties locate when electoral sys is first past the post?  Vote maximizing machines, need 50% + 1 to form gov  Towards middle, median voter  person that divides electorate to two equal halves  Parties will tend to move towards electoral middle, voters when vote minimized distance b/w ideal point + posit of party  Assump: parties = vote maximizers, voters vote + don’t abstain  No matter how far party moves in this direction, if ideal point is there + this party is closer to ideal point than another party, that is the party you vote for  Very hard for third party to enter + become permanent party  Identitiesofpartiesmaychangeovertimelogic:shouldexpecttendencytowards2partysys - Legislatures where have party of gov + opposition  legis = place for adversarial poli to occur  Don’t expect permanently exclu fr/office, win 1 election, live + exist to fight another - Consensus poli more complicated  multiparty elections - Bottom line: consensus govs that depend on coalition  No single party large enough to form gov of its own (exceptions = rare) - Distinc b/w single party govs + coalitions:  Issue: how are interparty differences managed in coalition gov?  Initial conditions:  Parliamentary gov  Parliamentary gov w/consid delegation of authority (consid delegation of authority fr/legis to poli leader + cabinet  Legis comes fr/cabinet, individ cabinet ministers have great deal of autonomy w/in their cabinet portfolios + policy areas  Overall consequence: policy making fairly decentralised w/in the cabinet  Electoral rules = rules of propo rep (PR)  Notice: describing consensus democ in Lijphart’s terms  Basically going to ask: how do coalition govs work in consensus democs?  Political result (of initial condits):  Multiparty gov = norm  Problem that this poli result produces:  Coalition gov implies intra-coalition comprom  Question that they seek to answer in their research:  If coalition govs require comprom, how are comproms reached? And how are comproms reproduced over time? (How are they enforced?) esp in light of decentralised poli environ described above under i
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