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Erik Moberg ã:
A Theory of Democratic Politics
 
 

10.1 - THE DIVISION OF LABOR BETWEEN POLITICAL PARTIES AND LOBBYING ORGANIZATIONS

Why, one may ask, are both lobbying organizations and political parties always present in a democratic political system? Why is it not enough with the organizations working close to the legal structure, that is the political parties? Why are there, in addition to that, interest groups? Which functions do the latter have which cannot, at least not conveniently, be fulfilled by the parties? Which is the division of labor between them? The answers to these questions are, again, dependent on the constitutional setting and therefore not fit for a detailed treatment in this chapter. Two general points may, however, be made.

First, while political parties usually have at least some ideological inclination, although it may be weak, lobbying organizations focus strongly on interests. This point is emphasized by the fact that the majority rule, which is important in all democracies, makes it possible to further special interests of various kinds. In a context dominated by the unanimity rule interests would, on the contrary, usually be defeated, and there would thus not be any room for lobbying organizations.

Second, while political parties come and go from incumbency to opposition, lobbying organizations, by being free from the parties, can always direct their demands towards the incumbents.