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Erik Moberg ã:
A Theory of Democratic Politics
 
 

18 - PARLIAMENTARY CONSTITUTIONS WITH MAJORITARIAN ELECTIONS: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

In this constitutional setting we are likely to get fewer parties than in the parliamentary, proportional setting. In the extreme case we will get just two dominating parties and that is the case I am dealing with here.

Since we are dealing with a parliamentary system it is important for the parties to be cohesive and disciplined. The requirements in this respect are, however, less far-reaching than in the parliamentary, proportional setting, since the bigger party usually, is considerably bigger than the smaller party in the legislature. Therefore it should not be a problem that the means of discipline are somewhat weaker than in the proportional case.

Furthermore, and since there are just two parties, the one or the other will single-handedly form the executive and we will thus not get any coalition politics. This is likely to be quite consequential since it opens the door for ideological politics concerned with general instructions rather than interest politics concerned with specific instructions. We are likely to get median voter ideological politics.

The fact that the parties try to occupy positions close to the median voterís position, in combination with the tendency for the bigger party to become grossly over-represented in the legislature, is also likely to lead to frequent changes of power. The mechanisms in the parliamentary, proportional setting which allow a party to dominate its countryís politics over extended periods are not operating here.

Since there are just two parties, the one forming the executive and the other the opposition, we are also likely to get a shadow cabinet. This, again, is in contrast to the situation in the parliamentary, proportional context, where some parties' wish to obtain pivotal positions was likely to prevent the emergence of a shadow cabinet.

Here, as in the proportional context, the lobbying organizations are likely to approach the party leadershipís with their demands. Since the politics is less likely to be tuned towards interests, the politicians in the parties are, however, likely to be less inclined to listen to the lobbyists and make deals with them.