Political Parties

Saalfeld, Thomas (2005) Political Parties. In: Green, Simon F. and Paterson, William E., eds. Governance in Contemporary Germany: The Semisovereign State Revisited. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 46-77. ISBN 0521848814. (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Abstract

This chapter seeks to map and analyse continuities and change of relevant structural attributes of the German party system and to assess whether changes in the party system since the second half of the 1980s have compounded the tendency to incremental policy change observed by Katzenstein in his classical study of 1987 or whether, alternatively, important traditional characteristics of the German party system, considered to be an asset until the 1980s, have persisted but come to be seen as a liability since. Based on Tsebelis’ (2002) veto-players’ model as an organising framework, it is found that the fundamentals of the Federal Republic’s party system and ‘grand-coalition structures’ have remained remarkably stable. The interpenetration of federalism and party government have continued to exacerbate the tendency of the German policy process towards incrementalism. Nevertheless, the contribution also highlights one element of Tsebelis’ (2002) veto-players’ framework that is often neglected: the cohesiveness of partisan veto players. Although the federal governments have usually not been able to ‘control’ a majority in the Bundesrat since unification in 1990, the Bundesrat majority has been far from cohesive, thus allowing some scope for policy change. One of the main differences between the argument advanced in this chapter and Tsebelis’ argument is, however, that the ‘electoral connection’ is–in addition to the structural attributes of the political system–crucial for an understanding of the persistence of status-quo policies in German politics.

Item Type: Book section
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations > Centre for Federal Studies
Depositing User: Alison Chapman
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2007 18:55
Last Modified: 21 May 2014 10:34
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/1414 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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