Opposition im Bayerischen Landtag 1994-1998.
Europäische Hochschulschriften, 534
Peter Lang Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 378 pp.
I analysed opposition strategies and patterns of the Parliamentary Party Groups (PPGs) of Social Democrats (SPD) and the Green Party in the Bavarian State Parliament within the 13th congressional term (1994-1998). While the German National Parliament (Bundestag) and other German state parliaments use to produce changing governments run by coalition parties, the situation in Bavaria is defined by the hegemony of the Christian Social Union (CSU) who has been governing the state without the need to build a coalition since 1962. Exploring the Bavarian State Parliament was especially promising since it shows an extreme, maybe even desperate, case of opposition which seemed prone to question common findings on how opposition can influence the political majority’s politics.
In detail I analysed to what extent the opposition PPGs can influence the parliamentary majority’s politics and questioned if there are differences in the parliamentary behaviour and actions of the two opposition PPGs which could be connected to party-typical attributes. To measure the kind and the grade of political influence politicians and parties have upon each other I worked with a multidimensional approach, combining quantitative and qualitative methods of research. My working hypothesises were generated in a multi-level procedure.
Apart from 21 expert interviews (guided by central questions) with members of all PPGs I examined nine legislative procedures in detail and analysed all other parliamentary actions within the congressional term. Additional sources of information were the socio-demographic analysis of the 13th Bavarian State Parliament’s members, the archives of pressure groups involved in some of the legislative procedures and the media’s reports on the parliament and its politics throughout the period in question.
The results of my research showed that the opposition parties’ strategies, in order to influence the CSU faction and the Bavarian State Government ran along two main lines situated on different levels of publicity:
• a strategy of matter-of-factly cooperation focused on committee meetings and private discussions inside parliament
• a strategy of confrontational power politics focused outside parliament with involvement of the media and the public
Applying those strategies both parties were successful in influencing the majority’s decision making, proving that – despite of it’s long hegemonic tradition – Bavaria isn’t a special case if it comes to parliamentary decision making. Distinctive features in the opposition PPGs’ appearance and the strategies they choose in order to gain influence reflect significant profiles of party politics. The Social Democrats focused on a strategy of matter-of-factly cooperation and sought to intermediate in some controversial legislative cases. In contrast, the Greens chose confrontational power politics with a high engagement of the media which had their main effect outside parliament.
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