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Majoritarian and Consensus Parliamentary Democracies

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Majoritarian and Consensus Parliamentary Democracies Powered By Docstoc
					“Majoritarian” and “Consensus” Parliamentary
   Democracies: A Convergence Towards
       “Cooperative Majoritarianism”?


            By
            Jean Blondel and Francesco Battegazzorre




                                                         Christina Kennally
                                                        December 2, 2010
                                                       Comparative Politics
From the 1990s to Present:
A New Set of Changes


First:                       Second:

Consociationalism            Adversarial Majoritarianism




Majoritarianism              Cooperative Majoritariansim
Consociationalism => Majoritarianism

   Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Italy
   Power-sharing is decreasing
   Development of government and opposition
Parliamentary Systems Evolution - Problems

   Criticisms of Lijphart‟s framework:
       No mechanism to register dynamics
       Distinction between opposition of “majority” and
        “consensus”
            Only contrasts, no dimensions
       No clear definitions
Authors’ Solutions
   Need a clear definition
   Need two clearly-defined dimensions, not
    contrasts
   Need to update the categorization of criteria
    (those that account for the placement of
    parliamentary governments)
General Trend
   Established parliamentary systems become
    less extreme: Cooperative Majority
       Electors have a choice (unlike Consensus)
       Civilized Debate (unlike Majority)
Lijphart’s “Definition” of Majority
and Consensus
   Majority
       “government by the majority of people”
            Majority in Parliament, not majority of people
       “blocs” that oppose each other
            Political formula to efficiently decide conflicts

   Consensus
       No clear definition:
            Preferred to consociationalism
                Shorter and easier to pronounce
                Majoritarian model is point of departure
                New variables
What does consensus mean?
Simple definition: governments that have a
                    larger base than the majority
Lijphart’s definition:
 a different conception of democracy

 “consensus challenges the idea that majorities
  should govern and minorities should oppose”
 Include rather than exclude (although no set
  parameters for this)
Authors’ definition of Consensus
   Consensus: agreements made between all
               forces in society (a necessary
               condition)
   True Consensus: if all participate in decision-
                    making
Majoritarian Model
   Seems easy because conditions are minimal
   Depends on how Majoritarianism is imposed:
       Brutally, with limited discussion (imposition)
       Less brutal, cooperation with opposition
Consensus Model
   2 ideal types of collaboration
       Broad-based collaboration at government level
       Collaboration at the societal level
   Drawbacks
       “grand governmental coalitions” not so grand
            Exception: wartime
       Not all interest groups are considered
Two-Dimensional Approach
   Two models are two ideal types, we need multiple
    dimensions to track change (vs. one dimension)
       Not a single continuum because of two different types
       Not just size of coalition but also how they deal with the
        socio-political elite when making decisions
       Dimension 1: government composition
       Dimension 2: societal
                    Simple: Bare majority to large majority
                    Complex: majority of large blocs oppose each
                     other, consociational if large coalition with many
                     party representatives exists
                    Minority government: near majority or true
                     minority government (closer to consensus) and
                     must consider societal dimension
Dimension One
   Government Composition
       Simple: Bare majority to large majority
       Complex: majority of large blocs oppose each
        other, consociational if large coalition with many
        party representatives exists
       Minority government:
          near majority
          true minority government (closer to consensus)
           and must consider societal dimension
Dimension Two
   Societal
       Concerned with:
            Behavior between government and others
               Imposed decisions: Adversarial
               Agreement: Cooperation

                   Difficult to assess cooperation, but more
                    committees outside government higher
                    cooperation
            Behavior with government and those not in
             government
                           Adversarial     Cooperative
               Near/Bare
                Majority
Dimension 1:
Composition
    of
Government                 Consociative    Consensus
                 Large
                Majority
                             Imposition      Cooperation


                                       Dimension 2:
                                      Government’s
                                     Mode of Behaviour
Lijphart’s idea:
   Features: account for the position of
    parliamentary government in two-dimensional
    space
   Two dimensions (given to focus on features):
       “executive-parties” plane
       “federal-unitary” plane
"Executive-Parties" Plane's Features

Concentration of executive executive power-sharing in single party
majority cabinets vs. executive power-sharing in broad multi-party
coalitions
Dominant executive-legislative relationship vs. executive-legislative
balance of power
Two party vs. multi-party system
Majority and disproportional electoral systems vs. proportional
representation
Pluralist with "free for all" competition among groups vs. coordinated
and "corporatist" interest group systems aimed at compromise and
concertation
"Federal-Unitary" Plane's Features
Unitary and centralized government vs. federal and decentralized
governments
Concentration of legislative power in unicameral legislature vs.
division of legislative power between two equally strong but
differently constituted houses
Flexible consitutions that can be amended by simple majorities vs.
rigid constitutions that can be amended by extraordinary majorities
Systems in which legislatures have the final word on the
constutionality of their own legislation vs. systems in which laws are
subject to judicial revew of their constiutionality by supreme or
consitutional courts
Central banks dependant on the executive vs. independent centralized
banks
Criticisms of Features
   No explanation of why features were chosen
   All features presented in a dichotomous
    manner
   “executive-parties” plane:
       intercorrelation of variables
   “federal-unitary” plane:
       Introduce veto points instead of a real
        consensus; checks and balances (stalemate)
European Parliamentary Breakdown

   15 Parliamentary Governments
       11 Traditionally Majoritarian
          Scandinavian: Cooperative
          Britain, France, Ireland: Adversarial

       4 Consociative or consensual
          Netherlands: broadly cooperative
          Italy, Austria, Belgium: Consociative
From the 1990s to Present:
A New Set of Changes


First:                       Second:

Consociationalism            Adversarial Majoritarianism




Majoritarianism              Cooperative Majoritariansim
The Netherlands
   Christian Party, pivotal position since 1970s
   Liberal Party and Labour Party alternatively partners in
    coalition governments ‟successive‟ than
    „simultaneous‟ consociationalism
   1990s, Christian Parties decline, Liberal and Labour
    did not benefit of this sufficiently to become pivotal
    (one of the two)
   1994 Election: Liberals, Labour and D66 (small centre-
    left party) formed a coalition government Christian
    Party in opposition for the first time since 1945, no
    longer pivotal position
Belgian
   19th century  Conservative vs Liberals; then
    Christians vs Liberals  majoritarian
   Emergence of the Socialists  three pillars  still
    majoritarian up to 1960s (Christians alone;
    Socialists+Liberals)
   New linguistic cleavage  need for institutional
    reform  large majority required for approval
    (consociative) 1993 Reform  1998 end of the
    consociational period (Christians relegated to
    opposition again in 1998)
Conclusions:
Consociative to Majoritarian
   If we consider Lijphart‟s features, there would be no
    shift toward majoritarianism in the case of
    Netherlands and Belgium
       Cannot attribute changes to Lijphart‟s system of
        variables
   Two key features:
       Nature of cleavage and ideological panorama prevailing
        at a particular time
       Effect of European Union on the structure of national
        politics in member-states
Additional Conclusions:
Majoritarian Adversarial to Majoritarian Cooperative

   Scandanivia and Germany are still majoritarian
    cooperative
       Lijphart‟s system consider‟s only Germany to be
        majoritarian cooperative
   France, Ireland, and even England have become more
    similar to majoritarian cooperative
       England: Labour party reinforced many of Thatcher‟s
        policies
            Began as an imposition and then became accepted by
             those who originally opposed
Final Conclusion
   Cooperative Majoritarianism seems to be the
    answer:
       Avoid political mistakes of the past
       “Europeanization” of politics
          To be taken seriously in the European Union,
           member-states must maintain a level of cohesion
           within their own country
          French case: Cohabitation formula

				
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