Parties in Legislatures:

Shaun Bowler

in Parties Without Partisans

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780199253098
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599026 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics

Parties in Legislatures:

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Assesses the degree to which parties still structure the legislative process. Party cohesion and party dominance within legislatures has usually been grounded in one of two explanations. One explanation sees legislative party discipline as a feature of the importance of party organization in fighting elections, which carries through to the legislative chamber itself, while a second explanation sees party discipline as a product of incentives facing individual legislators inside the legislative arena. The first argument would predict that party discipline inside the legislature should begin to falter because of the changes described in the previous chapters of this book. The second argument would predict that very little change should be seen and, further, that formal rules inside legislatures should underpin the importance of parties. In examining a range of behavioural data, such as roll‐call voting and internal Rules of Procedure, there is little evidence to support the view that party discipline has weakened or that parties are less important today in determining legislative outcomes. Changes in electoral behaviour, then, are not reflected in changes in the importance of parties inside legislatures where parties remain dominant actors.

Keywords: agenda control; elections; legislative process; party cohesion; party discipline; party dominance; party nominations; party organization; roll‐call voting

Chapter.  9414 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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