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Chapter

Cover Comparative European Politics

8. Parties in Government  

Petia Kostadinova and Robert Thomson

This chapter explores a cornerstone of democratic theory: the idea that parties mediate the effect of public opinion on government policies. It begins by discussing whether elections give parties a mandate to pursue their campaign promises, a supposition that many political theorists find problematic. The chapter then reviews theories that predict and explain post-election coalition formation, as the type of government formed affects parties’ success in shaping government policies. Finally, the chapter reviews three of the main approaches to studying the impact of parties on public policies: welfare state models, public spending, and the keeping of election campaign promises.

Chapter

Cover Poverty and Development

4. Agencies of Development  

Duncan Green and Tom Kirk

This chapter evaluates agencies of development, which can be split into three broad categories: state, societal, and international actors and organizations. These categories should be understood to be overlapping and fluid. Indeed, few actors or organizations can be said to be purely international, of the state or society. Instead, most belong to and operate across multiple spheres of activity. Moreover, this boundary crossing is increasingly a requirement to get things done. Accordingly, the chapter pays attention to how different agencies interact with one another, legitimizing and delegitimizing different understandings of development in the process. It also shows how development is often driven by broad coalitions of actors and organizations working together, however contentiously, towards collective goals. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of emerging ways of understanding and doing development that acknowledge and incorporate this approach.

Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

8. Governments and bureaucracies  

Wolfgang C. Müller

This chapter examines the decision-making modes of governments and their capacities to govern, with particular emphasis on bureaucracies that support governments in their tasks of ruling and administrating the country. It first presents the relevant definitions before discussing different modes of government that reflect the internal balance of power: presidential government, cabinet government, prime ministerial government, and ministerial government. It then considers the autonomy of government, especially from political parties and the permanent bureaucracy, along with the political capacity of governments, the relevance of unified versus divided government, majority versus minority government, and single-party versus coalition government. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the technocratic capacities of government, focusing on issues such as classic bureaucracy, the politicization of bureaucracies, and New Public Management systems.

Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

8. Governments and Bureaucracies  

Wolfgang C. Müller

This chapter examines the decision-making modes of governments and their capacities to govern, with particular emphasis on bureaucracies that support governments in their tasks of ruling and administrating the country. It first presents the relevant definitions before discussing different modes of government that reflect the internal balance of power: presidential government, cabinet government, prime ministerial government, and ministerial government. It then considers the autonomy of government, especially from political parties and the permanent bureaucracy, along with the political capacity of governments, the relevance of unified versus divided government, majority versus minority government, and single-party versus coalition government. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the bureaucratic capacities of government, focusing on issues such as classic bureaucracy, the politicization of bureaucracies, and New Public Management systems.

Chapter

Cover UK Politics

4. Parliament  

This chapter looks specifically at the UK Parliament as this is the central institution of the UK political system. It describes the people in Parliament, its internal makeup, and the way in which it is changing. The chapter examines the roles of members of the House of Commons and House of Lords. It considers the four basic functions of Parliament: providing a basis of government, holding government to account, producing legislation, and interacting with the wider public. The chapter describes three practical examples to help illustrate some of its themes. These are the following: the 2010–15 coalition government’s attempts to reform the House of Lords; the 2009 Wright Committee proposals for parliamentary reform and their implementation; and the practice of pre-appointed hearings conducted by parliamentary committees.

Chapter

Cover Exploring Parliament

24. Whips and Rebels  

Mark Stuart

This chapter examines the role of whips and rebellious Members of Parliament (MPs) in the UK Parliament. Whips are MPs or peers who are responsible for managing the Members of their party, and in particular for ensuring that party Members vote in line with their party's policy. The whips are often regarded as bullies and cajolers, whereas MPs are seen as spineless and overly loyal. The chapter first considers the myths and reality about whips before discussing the growing rebelliousness of MPs — that is, they vote against their party line in the division (voting) lobbies. It shows that these rebels have made the role of the whips much harder, citing as an example the case of the Coalition Government of 2010–2015, where the government whips had to try to satisfy the demands of two parties — Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party.

Chapter

Cover The Institutions of the European Union

15. European parties:  

a powerful caucus in the European Parliament and beyond

Tapio Raunio

The party system of the European Parliament (EP) has been dominated by the two main European party families: centre-right conservatives and Christian democrats, on the one hand, and centre-left social democrats on the other, which controlled the majority of the seats until the 2019 elections. In the early 1950s, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) decided to form party-political groups, instead of national blocs, to counterbalance the dominance of national interests in the Council. Over the decades, the shape of the EP party system has become more stable, and traditional levels of group cohesion and coalition formation have not really been affected by the rise of populism and the increasing politicization of European integration. National parties remain influential within party groups, not least through their control of candidate selection. Outside of the Parliament, Europarties—parties operating at the European level—influence both the broader development of integration and the choice of the Commission president.

Chapter

Cover Origins and Evolution of the European Union

5. The Triumph of Community Europe  

Craig Parsons

This chapter examines the competition of ideas in France for intra-European cooperation in the 1950s, ranging from traditional intergovernmental arrangements to the sharing of national sovereignty. In particular, it considers how strong political leadership and the formation of crosscutting coalitions that commanded a majority of parliamentary support at critical junctures contributed to the triumph of Community Europe, in the form of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC). The chapter argues that the future of European integration, which followed the Community model, hinged on electoral outcomes and parliamentary manoeuvrings in France that had less to do with the forcefulness of the ideas at issue than with unrelated political developments. It also looks at the demise of the European Defence Community (EDC) that paved the way for the ECSC and EEC projects.

Chapter

Cover Global Environmental Politics

3. States  

This chapter examines how states have very different preferences in global environmental politics. These state preferences are formed and shaped in a co-evolving process at both the domestic and international levels. Domestically, a rational choice analysis shows how environmental vulnerability and the costs of abatement contribute to defining a state's national interests in environmental politics. But the rational choice model, though useful, has its limits. It often presents the state as a unitary and monolithic actor, whereas in fact states come in multiple institutional forms and are made up of numerous actors with varying and sometimes conflicting interests. Several international factors also play an important role in shaping state preferences. Some of those international factors revolve around how states interact with one another in international negotiations. Indeed, state preferences can be revised during international negotiations via states' interactions in working and contact groups, with negotiating chairs, in coalitions, and through leadership efforts.