Ireland: ‘O What a Tangled Web. . .’—Delegation, Accountability, and Executive Power

Paul Mitchell

in Delegation and Accountability in Parliamentary Democracies

Published in print November 2003 | ISBN: 9780198297840
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602016 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics

Ireland: ‘O What a Tangled Web. . .’—Delegation, Accountability, and Executive Power

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The Irish state inherited many features of the Westminster parliamentary system, but with some important divergences: a written constitution protected by a Supreme Court, a proportional representation electoral system with a single transferable vote, and a directly elected President as Head of State. Irish political parties are cohesive, disciplined, and centralized under the direction of the party leaderships. The electoral system allows the electorate to vote directly for individual candidates in multimember constituencies, which increases the individual accountability of legislators and helps to contain agency loss. Irish governments have not been heavily constrained or monitored by other institutions or agents, including Parliament.

Keywords: constituency service; executive secrecy; neutrality; proportional representation; referendums; single transferable vote; weak committee system; Westminster system

Chapter.  13838 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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