Coalition Governments in Western Europe

By Wolfgang C. Müller & Kaare Strøm (eds.)

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The project’s first publication about coalition bargaining (Müller and Strøm, 2000, 2003), provides an up-to-date account of central issues in coalition politics in the tradition of volumes edited by Browne and Dreijmanis (1982), Bogdanor (1983) and Pridham (1986). However, the scope of the research presented in Coalition Governments in Western Europe also goes beyond these previous works. Our efforts have been heavily influenced by new theoretical concerns, especially the interaction between the different stages in coalitional bargaining. On a country-by-county basis, this volume systematically links government formation to the other aspects of coalition governance.

The data collected by the project and presented in Coalition Governments in Western Europe includes standard information about every parliamentary government in thirteen countries in the period 1945-1999 (or the era of the current democratic regime). It describes every governing coalition, the party affiliation of every cabinet minister, the date and results of every election, and the institutional rules under which the parliament and the entire parliamentary democracy operates. The data also provide information on government membership, government formation and termination dates, parliamentary party strength, and party policy positions. This information is supplemented with variables that are new or largely unexplored in this type of research, including: the number of inconclusive bargaining rounds (i.e., failed attempts to construct a coalition government), the parties involved in these attempts, the number of days required to form a government, the causes of the demise of coalitions, and the subsequent electoral fate of the coalition participants. The data also include extensive information on coalition agreements, including content, length, timing, and the manner in which the contracting parties agreed to enforce the agreement. The information has been collected in standardised form by the same country experts that have also written the country chapters in the volume.

Table of Contents

  1. Coalition Governance in Werstern Europe: An Introduction
    • W.C. Müller and K. Strom
  2. Germany: Stable Parties, Chancellor Democracy, and the Art of Informal Settlement
    • T. Saalfeld
  3. Austria: Thight Coalitions and Stable Government
    • W.C. Müller
  4. Ireland: From Single-Party to Coalition Rule
    • P. Mitchell
  5. Norway: A Fragile Coalition Order
    • H.M. Narud and K. Strom
  6. Sweden: When Minority Cabinets Are the Rule and Majority Coalitions the Exception
    • T. Bergman
  7. Denmark: The Life and Death of Government Coalitions
    • E. Damgaard
  8. Finland: The Consolidation of Parliamentary Governance
    • J. Nousiainen
  9. Belgium: On Government Agreements, Evangellists, Followers, and Heretics
    • L. DeWinter, A. Timmermans and P. Dumont
  10. The Netherlands: Still the Politics of Accomodation?
    • A. Timmermans and R.B. Andeweg
  11. Luxembourg: Stable Coalitions in a Pivotal Party System
    • P. Dumont and L. DeWinter
  12. Italy: From ‘Constrained’ Coalitions to Alternating Governments?
    • L. Verzichelli and M. Cotta
  13. France: Forming and Maintaining Government Coalitions in the Fifth Republic
    • J-L. Thiébault
  14. Portugal: The Rationale of Democratic Regime Building
    • J.M. Magone
  15. Conclusion: Coalition Governance in Western Europe
    • W.C. Müller and K. Strom

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