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Which of the following countries use(s) a first-past-the-post electoral system? = USA

and the UK
Which of the following political scientists was known for his theory of political
cleavages? = Stein Rokkan
Which of the following is NOT a source of legitimacy according to Max Weber? =
ideological IS NOT; they are: traditional, rational and charismatic
Which of the following countries is a semi-presidential system? = France
The United States Congress is = a strong legislature, bicameral, and is elected
separately of the executive
Which is NOT part of the public policy cycle? = Gate-keeping IS NOT; they are: agendasetting, implementation, evaluation, formulation.
Which of the following is true for behavioral theories? = they rely heavily on empirical
and quantifiable data collection; FALSE = are mostly concerned with political
institutions; have a historical approach; is an overarching, comprehensive theory
What is Anthony Downs most known for? = the definition of relevant parties (based
on a leftright axis) and? his model of a competitive two-party system; FALSE: the
study of the British political system and for inventing the Michigan or partyidentification model of voting behavior
Catch all parties = have usually been created as a transformation of traditional mass
parties; seek to play down ideological differences and profile; The Republicans and the
Democrats are typical examples.
In a parliamentary system = the head of state is always elected by the parliament;
FALSE: the executive cannot be removed by the legislature; the members of
parliament are always elected by party lists; the Prime Minister may have the power to
dissolve parliament.


Politics is the activity through which people make, preserve and amend the general
rules under which they live. It is an essentially social activity inextricably linked on the
one hand to the existence of diversity and conflict and on the other to a willingness to
cooperate and act collectively. Its a search for conflict resolution as not all conflicts
can be resolved.
Conventionally, politics has been seen as embracing institutions and actors operating
in a public sphere concerned with the collective organization of social existence. When
politics is understood in terms of power-structured relationships, it may be seen to
operate in the private sphere as well.
As a contested concept, politics can have many views: the art of government, public
affairs, compromise and consensus, power and distribution of resources.
Aristotle: its the activity through which human beings attempt to improve
their lives and create the Good Society;
Hannah Arendt: politics is the most important form of human activity because
it involves interaction among free and equal citizens; it thus gives meaning to
life and affirms uniqueness of each individual; definition of political power
acting in concert;
Samuel Johnson: politics is a means of rising in the world;
Henry Adams: its the systematic organization of hatreds;
Politics as the art of government
According to Chancellor Bismarck, politics is not a science, but an art (classical
definition), he was referring to the art of government, the exercise of control within
society through the making and enforcement of collective decisions.
The word politics is derived from polis in Greek, meaning city-state, each of which
possessed its own system of government, like Athens, the cradle of democratic
government. Thus, politics refers to the affairs of the polis, what concerns the polis,
the state (in the modern definition).
Politics is what takes place within a polity, a system of social organization centered
upon the machinery of government, that is, a society organized through the exercise of
political authority. In Aristotles words, polity is the ideal system of government; and it
is mixed because it combines both aristocratic and democratic features. This is the
reason why most social activities can be regarded as being outside politics, because
they are not engaged in running the country, like businesses, schools and other
educational, families, community groups, whereas within politics are cabinet rooms,
legislative chambers, government departments, etc.
A policy, for example, is a plan of action agreed or chosen by a political party, a
business, such as health care, minority issues, economic policy, education, stance on
capital punishment.

Authority can most simply be defined as legitimate power. Power is the ability to
influence the behavior of others in a manner not of their choosing and to achieve a
desired outcome, and authority is the right to do so, and its based on the
acknowledged duty to obey rather than on any form of coercion or manipulation.
Because the management of complex societies is believed to not only depend on the
government but also a wide range of public and private sectors bodies, the idea of
government is being replaced by governance, which refers to the various ways through
which social life is coordinated, therefore government would be just an institution
involved in governance, so a governance without government would be possible. The
principle modes of governance are markets, hierarchies and networks.
Webers definition of authority
Traditional authority: rooted in history;
Charismatic authority: stems from personality;
Legal-rational authority: grounded in a set of impersonal rules.

Webers definition of State: organization that maintains a monopoly of violence over a

Sovereignty: supreme and unrestricted power, as of a state

Politics as public affairs

The difference between of a public sphere of life and a private sphere is:
Public sphere (political): they are responsible for the collective organization of
community life, and they are funded at the publics expense, out of taxation,
like the institutions of the state (the apparatus of government, the courts, the
police, the army, the social security system, etc.);
Private sphere (nonpolitical): they are institutions of the social society, like
family and kinship groups, private businesses, trade unions, clubs, community
Civil society: its a political community, a society governed by law, under the authority
of a state; its

Traditional distinction State x civil society

Public: the state, apparatus of government.
Private: autonomous bodies: businesses, trade unions, clubs, families, etc.

Alternative distinction Public realm x private realm

Public: politics, commerce, work, art, culture.
Private: family and domestic life.

Politics as compromise and consensus

Politics is seen as a particular means of resolving conflict: by compromise, conciliation,
consensus and negotiation, rather than through force, naked power, violence and
coercion. Compromise means that concessions are made by all sides, leaving no one
perfectly satisfied.
Consensus means agreement of a particular kind. It implies first a broad agreement,
the terms of which are accepted by a wide range of individuals or groups, and second,
it implies an agreement about fundamental or underlying principles, as opposed to a
precise or exact agreement.
procedural consensus is a willingness to make decisions through consultation
and bargaining, either between political parties or between government and
major interests;
substantive consensus is an overlap of the ideological positions of two or more
political parties, reflected in agreement about fundamental policy goals.

Politics as power
According to Adrian Leftwich, politics is at the heart of all collective social activity,
formal and informal, public and private, in all human groups, institutions and societies.
Politics takes place at every level of social interaction. It can be found within families
and among small groups of friends just as much as among nations and on the global
Dimensions of power
Power as decision-making: actions that in some way influence the content of
Power as agenda-setting: is the ability to prevent decisions being made, that is,
in effect, non-decision-making, by setting or controlling the political agenda,
thereby preventing issues or proposals from being aired;
Power as thought control: is the ability to influence another by shaping what
he wants or what she thinks, wants, needs (ideological indoctrination or
psychological control).

Politics is, in essence, power: the ability to achieve a desired outcome, through
whatever means.
For Marxists, politics refers to the apparatus of the state, and political power refers to
the mere organized power of one class for oppressing another. For Lenin, politics is the
most concentrated form of economics. Therefore, Marxists believe that the economic
is political. Politics in a capitalist society is characterized by the exploitation of the
proletariat by the bourgeoisie.

A political system and its surroundings

Approaches to the study of politics

The philosophical/normative tradition
Plato and Aristotle are the fathers of this tradition, which involves the preoccupation
with ethical, prescriptive or normative questions, reflecting a concern with what
should be brought about, rather than with what is, its the prescription of values and
standards of conduct. Such analysis cannot be objective (demonstrable, untainted by
feelings, values or bias), as it deals with normative questions such as why should I
obey the state? and what should the limits of individual freedom be?.
This approach is the literary analysis and examines what major thinkers said, how they
developed and justified their views, and the intellectual context within which they
worked. The normative approach is prescriptive as it makes judgments and offers
For Plato, the nature of the ideal society took the form of a benign dictatorship
dominated by a class of philosopher kings.
The empirical/positive tradition
It reflects Aristotles attempt to classify constitutions, Machiavellis realistic account of
statecraft and Montesquieus sociological theory of government and law. The
empirical approach is characterized by the attempt to offer a dispassionate and
impartial account of political reality; its descriptive as it seeks to analyze and explain
and it was spread from the 17th century onwards through the works of John Locke.

Empirical because it is based on observation and experiment; empirical knowledge is

derived from sense data and experience.
The scientific tradition
Karl Marx was the first one to attempt to describe politics in scientific terms through
his materialist conception of history. Later in the USA, a new form of political analysis
emerged, behavioralism, which is the belief that social theories should be constructed
only on the basis of observable behavior, providing quantifiable data for research. For
the first time, this gave politics reliably scientific credentials by using objective and
quantifiable data against hypothesis. It was, therefore, believed to be value-free, not
contaminated by ethical or normative beliefs.
Dissatisfaction with behavioralism grew as interest in normative questions revived in
the 1970s, because concepts such as liberty, equality, justice, rights were
sometimes discarded as being meaningless, that is, not empirically verifiable entities.
Recent theoretical approaches
Green politics has challenged the anthropocentric (human centered) emphasis of
established political and social theory and championed holistic approaches to political
and social understanding.
Critical theory, which is rooted in the neo-Marxism of the Frankfurt School established
in 1923, has extended the notion of critique to all social practices drawing on a wide
range of influences, including Freud and Weber.
Postmodernism has questioned the idea of absolute and universal truth and helped to
produce, among other things, discourse theory.

Structural-functional theory (David Easton)

In the political system developed by David Easton, the society represents a system
with several subsystems that are intertwined and in interdependence. The political
subsystem is salient, it has a dual code and it has the following functions: leadership,
management and legitimization.
A system is an organized or complex whole, a set of interrelated and interdependent
parts that form a collective entity. In a political system, there is a link between inputs
(demands and supports from general public) and outputs (decisions and acts of
government, including the making of policy, the passing of laws, the imposition of
taxes, and the allocation of public funds). The outputs generate feedback, which in
turn shapes further demands and supports. The political system tends towards longterm equilibrium or political stability, as its survival depends on outputs being brought
into line with inputs.
Political parties and interest groups are portrayed as gatekeepers, the central function
of which is to regulate the flow of inputs into the political system

Politics = institutions
Norms and traditions
Legal status, place on the constitution
Relations to other institutions
International comparisons
What does not matter in this perspective: people

Group theories

Politics = decision-making
Conflicts between groups to the beneficial decisions
"Election is the expression of the democratic class struggle"- Lipset
Number of group members, their commitment, their ability to influence

Not an overarching/coherent theory, but rather a methodological
The "demystification of politics": by using scientific methods, it can be studied
and explained just as other fields.
Stimulus- Reaction
A prerequisite is visibility/measurability quantify ability: this can be a challenge
and limits the scope of inquiry
Widest possible range of available empirical data.
Objectivity, but relevance? Conservative bias in favor of status quo
Correlation = Causality?

Rational Choice Theory

Anthony Downs 1957, An Economic Theory of Democracy individuals with
their preferences, they want to maximize their profit
Version employed in political science: Public choice theory
Political economy (?)
Game theory
A wide range of research areas: e.g. party competition, referenda, legislative
behavior (roll-call), coalition-formations, analysis of international relations

Downs model on two-party competition (distance-model)

Concept: Left-Right, median voter, party, distance

Model: Downs-model: Centripetal competition, distance analysis
Theory: Rational Choice
Paradigm: Pluralism

Chicken game: is an influential model of

conflict for two players in game theory. The
principle of the game is that while each player
prefers not to give in to the other, the worst
possible outcome occurs when both players do
not give in.
A game is cooperative if the players are able to
form binding commitments. For instance, the legal system requires them to adhere to
their promises. In non-cooperative games, this is not possible.
Often it is assumed that communication among players is allowed in cooperative
games, but not in non-cooperative ones. However, this classification on two binary
criteria has been questioned, and sometimes rejected (Harsanyi 1974).
Of the two types of games, non-cooperative games are able to model situations to the
finest details, producing accurate results. Cooperative games focus on the game at
large. Considerable efforts have been made to link the two approaches. The so-called
Nash-program (Nash program is the research agenda for investigating on the one hand
axiomatic bargaining solutions and on the other hand the equilibrium outcomes of
strategic bargaining procedures)[34] has already established many of the cooperative
solutions as non-cooperative equilibria.
Hybrid games contain cooperative and non-cooperative elements. For instance,
coalitions of players are formed in a cooperative game, but these play in a noncooperative fashion.

Examples: 1997: landslide victory of the Labor

Group theories
Structural-functional theory
Rational choice theory

Discourse theory
Shortcomings of each model

Concepts, models, theories: they are tools of political analysis, providing the building
blocks of knowledge.
Concept is a general idea (single idea) about something. Concepts are the tools with
which we think, criticize, argue, explain and analyze; they are the building blocks of
human knowledge.
Ideal type (Max Weber): is a mental construct in which an attempt is made to draw
out meaning from an otherwise almost infinitely complex reality through the
presentation of a logical extreme. It implies that the concepts we use are constructed
by singling out certain basic/central features of the phenomenon in question, which
means that other features are downgraded or ignored altogether.
Model is a representation of something, usually on a smaller scale, and its purpose is
to resemble the original object as faithfully as possible differently of a conceptual
model, that doesnt need to resemble an object. Its a theoretical representation of
empirical data (facts) that aims to advance understanding by highlighting significant
relationships and interactions. A model is merely an explanatory device yet to be
tested. Models are more or less useful.
Theory is a systematic explanation of empirical data, usually (unlike a hypothesis)
presented as reliable knowledge. A theory is a proposition. Theories are more or less
Paradigm is a related set of principles, doctrines and theories that help to structure
the process of intellectual enquiry.
Models and theories contain a range of biases.


Models /


traditions /


It refers to the institutional processes that operate at the national level through which
collective and binding decisions are made in order to maintain public order. The core
functions of government, based on the separation of powers, are thus to make law
(legislation), implement law (execution) and interpret law (adjudication).
Governments can be changed by elections, through classic dynastic succession, as a
result of a coups dtat, etc.

Monarchy: is a system of rule dominated by one person. In general usage it is the

institution which the post of the head of state is filled through inheritance or dynastic
Absolutism (absolute monarchy): government is absolute in the sense that it
possesses unfettered power: government cannot be constrained by a body
external to itself. The governor (monarch) has the unlimited power to rule (as
in Divine Right), rather than in the exercise of unchallengeable power.
Absolutism can be distinguished from autocracy and dictatorship.
Constitutional monarchy: is a form of government in which a monarch is legally
restricted within the boundaries of a constitution, that is, the monarch is also
subjected to the constitution. This form of government differs from absolute
monarchy, in which the monarch has absolute political power over the state
and is not effectively restricted by constitutional constraints. The monarch acts
as a non-party political head of state under the constitution, whether written
or unwritten and government may officially take place in the monarch's name.
Republic: is a form of government in which power resides in the people, and the
government is ruled by elected leaders run according to law, rather than inherited or
appointed (such as through inheritance or divine mandate).
Aristocracy: is the system of rule in which the power is in the hands of a small,
privileged, ruling class.
Democracy: is a form of government in which eligible citizens may participate equally
- either directly by voting for the passing/rejecting of laws or running for office
themselves, or indirectly through elected representatives - in the proposal,
development and establishment of the laws by which their society is run.
Political system
It is a network of relationships through which government generates outputs
(policies) in response to inputs (demands or support) from the general public; it is a
subsystem of the larger social system, in which there are interrelationships within a
complex whole; it is political because these interrelationships relate to the distribution
of power, wealth and resources in society.
Political regime
It is the organization of the economic life that exists during the governmental process;
its a system of rule that endures despite the fact that governments come and go.
Regimes can be changed only by military intervention from without or by some kind of
revolutionary upheaval from within. The three key features of a regime are: political,
economic and cultural aspects/factors.
Liberal democracy: is a form of democratic rule that balances the principle of limited
government against the ideal of popular consent. Its liberal features are reflected in
a network of internal and external checks on government that are designed to
guarantee liberty and afford citizens protection against the state. Its democratic

character is based on a system of regular and competitive elections, conducted on the

basis of universal suffrage and political equality. The defining features are:

constitutional government based on formal, usually legal, rules;

guarantees of civil liberties and individual rights;
institutionalized fragmentation and a system of checks and balances;
regular elections that respect the principle of one person, one vote; one vote,
one value;
party competition and political pluralism;
the independence of organized groups and interest from government;
a private-enterprise economy organized along market lines.
Totalitarianism (Communist and Fascist): it is an all-encompassing system of political
rule that is typically established by pervasive ideological manipulation and open terror
and brutality. It differs from both autocracy and authoritarianism because it seeks
total power through the politicization of every aspect of social and personal
existence. Autocratic and authoritarian regimes have the more modest goal of a
monopoly of political power, usually achieved by excluding the masses from politics.
Totalitarianism thus implies the outright abolition of civil society: the abolition of the
private. Totalitarian regimes are sometimes identified through a six-pint syndrome
(Friedrich and Brzezinski, 1993):

an official ideology;
a one-party state, usually led by an all-powerful leader;
a system of terroristic policing;
a monopoly of the means of mass communication;
a monopoly of the means of armed combat;
state control of all aspects of economic life.

Regime types in the modern world

Western polyarchies: are regimes categorized as liberal democracies or simply
democracies, and the heartlands are North America, Western Europe and
Australasia. Some of the regimes are a product of the first two waves of
democratization: the first occurred between 1828 and 1926 involving countries such as
the USA, France and the UK; the second occurred between 1943 and 1962, and
involved ones such as West Germany, Italy, Japan and India.
Polyarchy (rule by many) refers generally to the institutions and political processes of
modern representative democracy. Its a rough or crude approximation of democracy,
since it operates through institutions that force rulers to take account of the interests
and wishes of the electorate. Its central features are:

government is the hands of elected officials;

elections are free and fair;
practically all adults have the right to vote;
the right to run for office is unrestricted;
there is free expression and a right to criticize and protest;

citizens have access to alternative sources of information;

groups and associations enjoy at least relative independence from government.
The word polyarchy is preferred to liberal democracy because they combine two
general features: first, there is a relatively high tolerance of opposition that is
sufficient to check the arbitrary inclinations of government, guaranteed by a
competitive party system, by institutionally guaranteed and protected civil liberties,
and by a vigorous and healthy civil society; second, the opportunities for participating
in politics should be sufficiently widespread to guarantee a reliable level of popular
Westminster model: a system of government in which the executive is drawn from,
and (in theory) accountable to, the assembly or parliament. Examples: the UK, New
Zealand, Australia, Canada, Israel and India. Its main features are:

a single-party government;
a lack of separation of powers between the executive and the assembly;
an assembly that is either unicameral or weakly bicameral;
a two-party system;
a single-member plurality of first-past-the-post electoral system;
unitary and centralized government;
an uncodified constitution and sovereign assembly;

Consensual or pluralistic polyarchies: The US model of pluralist democracy is based

very largely on institutional fragmentation enshrined in the provisions of the
constitution itself. In continental Europe, consensus is supported by the party system
and a tendency towards bargaining and power-sharing. In Belgium, Austria and
Switzerland, a system of consociational democracy, which operates through powersharing and a close association among a number of parties or political formations, has
developed that is particularly appropriate to societies that are divided by deep
religious, ideological, regional, cultural or other differences. Consensual or pluralistic
tendencies are often associated with the following features:

coalition government;
a separation of powers between the executive and the assembly;
an effective bicameral system;
proportional representation;
federalism or devolution;
a codified constitution and a bill of rights.

New democracies: these are countries in transition, best classified as new

democracies or semi-democracies, part of the third wave of democratization: rightwing dictatorships in Greece, Portugal and Spain, the retreat of the generals in Latin
America, and the collapse of communism.

New democracies: regimes in which the process of democratic consolidation is

incomplete; democracy is not yet the only game in town.
Semi-democracies: a regime in which democratic and authoritarian features
operate alongside one another in a stable combination.

East Asian regimes: they have similar characteristics, but also some small differences.
They are believed to have a set of Asian values that are distinct from western ones,
such as social harmony, respect for authority and a belief in the family. First they are
oriented more around economic goals than around political ones; their overriding
priority is to boost growth and deliver prosperity, rather than to enlarge individual
freedom in the western sense of civil liberty. Example: this concern is evident in the
tiger economies of East and South East Asia (those of South Korea, Taiwan, Hong
Kong, Singapore and Malaysia), but it has also been demonstrated in the construction
of a thriving market economy in China since the late 1970s, despite the survival there
of monopolistic communist rule; second, there is a broad support for strong
government; powerful ruling parties tend to be tolerated and there is a general
respect for the state and general acceptance that the state should guide the decisions
of private as well as public bodies and draw up strategies for national development;
third, there is a general disposition to respect leaders because of the Confucian stress
on loyalty, discipline and duty, which from a western viewpoint invests East Asian
regimes authoritarianism; great emphasis is placed on community, group think and
social cohesion, embodied in the central role accorded to the family.
Islamic regimes: Islam is not only a religion, its a complete way of life, defining correct
moral, political and economic behavior for individuals and nations alike. The way of
Islam is based on the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (570-632) as revealed in
the Koran, regarded by all Moslems as the revealed word of God, and the Sunna, or
beaten path, the traditional customs observed by a devout Moslem that are said to
be based on the Prophets own life. Political Islam thus aims at the construction of a
theocracy in which political and other affairs are structured according to higher
religious principles. Political Islam has assumed contrasting forms, ranging from
fundamentalist to pluralist extremes.
The fundamentalist version of Islam is associated with Iran, as Sharia law continues to
be strictly enforced throughout Iran as both a legal and a moral code.
Theocracy (rule by God) is the principle that religious authority should prevail over
political authority, it is therefore a regime in which government posts are filled on the
basis of the persons position in the religious hierarchy. Theocratic rule is illiberal
because it violates the distinction between private and public realms as religious rules
guide personal life and political conduct and because as temporal power is derived
from spiritual wisdom, it cannot be based on popular consent or be properly
constrained within a constitutional framework.
Military regimes: these regimes belong to a broader category of authoritarianism,
which has been most common in Latin America, in the Middle East, Africa and South

East Asia, but it also emerged in the post-1945 period in Spain, Portugal and Greece.
The key feature is that the leading posts in the government are filled on the basis of
the persons position within the military chain of command. Normal political and
constitutional arrangements are usually suspended, and institutions through which
opposition can be expressed, such as elected assemblies and a free press, are either
weakened or abolished. Some types of military regimes are:
the armed forces assume direct control of government, such as the military
junta in Latin America, as a form of collective military government centered on
a command council of officers who usually represent the three armed services:
the army, navy and air force;
a military-backed personalized dictatorship, where a single individual gains preeminence within the junta or regime, often being bolstered by a cult of
personality designed to manufacture charismatic authority, such as Colonel
Papadopoulos in Greece in 1974-80, General Pinochet in Chile after the 1973
military coup, and General Abacha in Nigeria in 1993-98;
the loyalty of the armed forces is the decisive factor that upholds the regime,
but the military leaders content themselves with pulling the strings behind the
scenes, as it occurred in post-1945 Brazil, as the armed forces generally
recognized that the legitimacy of the regime would be strengthened by the
maintenance of a distinction between political and military offices and

The three worlds typology

After the antagonisms of the Cold War, there was a growing popularity of the so-called
three worlds approach, the belief that the political world could be divided into three
distinct blocs:
a capitalist first world: industrialized western regimes were first in
economic terms, their population enjoyed the highest levels of mass affluence;
63% of the worlds GDP / 15% of the worlds population;
a communist second world: communist regimes were second, insofar as
they were largely industrialized and capable of satisfying the populations basic
material needs; 19% of the worlds GDP / 33% of the worlds population;
a developing third world: less developed countries of Africa, Asia and Latin
America were third, they were economically dependent and often suffered
from widespread poverty; 18% of the worlds GDP / 52% of the worlds


Ideology: from a social-scientific viewpoint, an ideology is a more or less coherent set
of ideas that provides a basis for organized political action, whether this is intended to
preserve, modify or overthrow the existing system of power relationships. The fluid
sets of ideas overlap with one another at a number of points. All ideologies therefore:
offer an account of the existing order, usually in the form of a world view;
provide a model of a desired future, a vision of the Good Society;
outline how political change can and should be brought about.
The term ideology was coined in 1796 by the French philosopher Destutt de Tracy
(1754-1836) to refer to a new science of ideas that began to uncover the origins of
conscious thought and ideas.
According to Marx, ideology mystifies and confuses subordinate classes (proletariat)
by concealing from them the contradictions upon which all class societies are based, as
well as capitalism, the ideology of property-owning bourgeoisie fosters delusion or
false consciousness among the exploited proletariat, preventing them from
recognizing the fact of their exploitation.
Some authors, such as Karl Popper and Hannah Arendt, were encouraged to view
ideology after the emergence of totalitarian dictatorships (fascism, communism) in the
interwar period as an instrument of social control to ensure compliance and
Ideologies are seen as abstract system of thought, that is, as sets of ideas that distort
political reality because they claim to explain what is, frankly, incomprehensible. This is
why conservatives place their faith in pragmatism, which is a theory or practice that
places primary emphasis on practical circumstances and goals; it implies a distrust of
abstract ideas.
Liberalism was the product of the breakdown of feudalism and the growth, in its place,
of a market or capitalist society, which attacked absolutism and feudal privilege,
instead advocating constitutional and, later, representative government. However, by
the early nineteenth century, a new liberal economic creed emerged in favor of the
virtues of laissez-faire capitalism condemning all forms of government intervention.
John Lockes political views were developed against the background of the English
Revolution, and are seen as a justification for the Glorius Revolution of 1688, which
ended absolutist rule and established a constitutional monarchy.
individualism: it reflects the supreme importance of the human individual as
opposed to any social group or collective body. Human beings are seen first as
individuals, so they are of equal and moral worth and they possess separate
and unique identities; thus, individuals are allowed to make their own moral

decisions, each one can pursue the good in society as he/she defines it, to the
best of his/her abilities, thats why liberalism is seen as morally neutral.
freedom: this arises from a belief in the individual and the desire to ensure that
each person is able to act as he/she pleases/chooses; but it is freedom under
the law, ones person liberty may not be a threat to the liberty of others;
individuals should enjoy the maximum possible liberty consistent with a like
liberty for all.
reason: it is the ability of individuals to make wise judgments on their own
behalf, being, in most cases, the best judges of their own interests based,
therefore, on human reason and critical enquiry; human beings are also
believed to resolve their differences through debate and argument rather than
bloodshed and war, because they believe in progress;
equality: it is the belief that individuals are born equal, at least in terms of
moral worth, and it is reflected in the form of legal equality (equality before the
law) and political equality (one person, one vote; one vote, one value); social
equality is not endorsed by liberals as individuals do not possess the same
levels of talent or willingness to work, but they are in favor of equality of
opportunity that gives all the individuals an equal chance to realize their
unequal potential, based on the principle of meritocracy, with merit reflecting,
talent plus work.
toleration: pluralism in the form of moral, cultural and political diversity is
positively healthy: it promotes debates and intellectual progress by ensuring
that all beliefs are tested in a free market of ideas, guided by a balance/natural
harmony between rival views and interests.
consent: authority and social relationships should always be based on consent
or willing agreement, in this light, government must be based on the consent
of the governed in favor of representation and democracy; and the authority
of social bodies and associations arises from the below, grounded in legitimacy.
constitutionalism: although government is a vital guarantee of order and
stability in society, it may become a tyranny against the individual, thus it must
be limited through fragmentation of government power, by the creation of
checks and balances among the institutions of government, and through the
establishment of a codified/written constitution embodying a bill of rights that
defines the relationship between the state and the individual.

Classical liberalism: refers to a commitment to an extreme form of individualism,

because human beings are seen as egoistical, self-seeking and largely self-reliant
atomism: the belief that society is made up of a collection of largely selfsufficient individuals who owe little or nothing to one another, which leads to
an absence of external constraints upon the individuals and to an
unsympathetic towards the state and all forms of government.
minimal / nightwatchman state: the state is a necessary evil (Tom Paine),
necessary because it established order and security and ensures that contracts

are enforced, and evil because it imposes a collective will upon society, thus
the role of the state should be limited to the protection of citizens from the
encroachments of fellow citizens.
economic liberalism: belief in the free market: a self-regulating mechanism
tending naturally to deliver general prosperity and opportunities for all; the
economy works best when left alone by government, this is the laissez-faire
capitalism, which guarantees prosperity, upholding individual liberty allowing
individuals to rise and fall according to merit, ensuring social justice.

Modern liberalism: is characterized by the support for big government rather than
minimal government. A big government is an interventionist government, usually
understood to imply economic management and social regulation.
Freedom: does not just mean being left alone, it is linked to personal
development and the flourishing of the individual: the ability of the individual
to gain fulfillment and achieve self-realization. State intervention, in the form
of Welfare State, can enlarge liberty by safeguarding individuals from the social
evils (want, ignorance, idleness, squalor, disease) that ruin individual existence.
Abandonment of laissez-faire capitalism: as a result of Keynes insight, growth
and prosperity could be maintained only through a system of regulated
capitalism, with key responsibilities in the hands of the state.

Conservatism arose as a reaction against the growing pace of economic and political
change, symbolized by the French Revolution. In this sense, conservatism harks back to
the ancient rgime in favor of the traditional social order. Joseph de Maistre (17531821) saw an autocratic and reactionary conservatism, rejecting out of hand any idea
of reform. Edmund Burke (1729-97) conceived a more cautious, flexible, and more
successful form of conservatism, in his belief in change in order to conserve.
tradition: the desire to conserve in favor of established customs and
institutions that have endured through time. Tradition reflects the accumulated
wisdom of the past, and institutions and practices that have been tested by
time, and it should be preserved for the benefit of the living and for
generations yet to come.
pragmatism: abstract principles and systems of thought are therefore
distrusted, and instead faith is placed in experience, history and pragmatism:
the belief that action should be shaped by practical circumstances and practical
goals (by what works). Its an attitude of mind, an approach to life rather than
an ideology.
human imperfection: pessimistic view of human nature: human beings are
limited, dependent, and security-seeking creatures, drawn to the familiar and

the tried and tested, and needing to live in stable and orderly communities;
they are morally corrupt, tainted by selfishness, greed and the thirst for power.
The roots of crime and disorder reside within the human individual rather than
in society. Thus, the maintenance of order requires a strong state, the
enforcement of strict laws and stiff penalties.
organicism: society is the product of an organic whole or living entity,
structured by natural necessity, with its various institutions (families, local
communities, the nation, etc.), contributing to the health and stability of
society. Shared value and a common culture are vital to the maintenance of the
hierarchy: gradations of social position and status are natural and inevitable in
an organic society, differing roles and responsibilities in society. Hierarchy and
inequality dont give rise to conflict, because society is bound together by
mutual obligations and reciprocal duties.
authority: authority is always exercised from above, providing leadership,
guidance and support for those who lack the knowledge, experience or
education to act wisely in their own interests. Authority is the source of human
cohesion, and freedom must coexist with responsibility, it is a willing
acceptance of obligations and duties.
property: it is vital because it gives people security and a measure of
independence from government, and it encourages them to respect the law
and the property of others. We are merely custodians of property that has
either been inherited from past generations or may be of value to future ones.

Neo-conservatism: the conservative New Right wishes to restore authority and return
to traditional values (family, religion, the nation). Authority is seen as guaranteeing
social stability as it generates discipline and respect, while shared values and a
common culture generate social cohesion and make civilized existence possible. The
enemies of neo-conservatism are:
permissiveness, the willingness to allow people to make their own moral
choices (the cult of the self and doing ones own thing), it suggests there are
no authoritative values.
emergence of multicultural and multireligious societies: they are deemed to
be conflict-ridden and inherently unstable, which tends to be linked to an
isolated form of nationalism that is skeptical about both multiculturalism and
the growing influence of supranational bodies such as the UN and the EU.
The principles of Christian Democracy, most religiously developed in the social market
philosophy of the German Christian Democrats (CDU), embrace a market strategy as it
highlights the virtues of private enterprise and competition; but it is social because it
believes that the prosperity gained should be employed for the broader benefit of
society that stresses social harmony. Christian Democracy highlights the importance of
intermediate institutions, such as churches, unions and business groups, as a
paternalistic strand.

Socialism took shape as a reaction against the industrial capitalism, first articulating
the interests of artisans and craftsmen threatened by the spread of factory production,
and it was soon liked to the growing industrial working class, the factory fodder of
early industrialization. In its earliest forms, it had a fundamentalist, utopian and
revolutionary character, and its goal was to abolish capitalism economy based on
market exchange and replace it with a qualitatively different socialist society, to be
constructed on the principle of common ownership. The most influential
representative of this brand of socialism was Karl Marx, whose ideas provided the
foundations for 20th century communism.
From the late 19th century onwards, a reformist socialist tradition emerged in favor of
the gradual integration of the working class into capitalist society through an
improvement in working conditions and wages and the growth of trade unions and
socialist political parties. This reformist socialism was drawn upon two sources: a
humanist tradition of ethical socialism, developed by Robert Owen, Charles Fourier
and William Morris, and a revisionist Marxism, developed by Eduard Bernstein.
During the 20th century, the socialist movement was divided into two rival camps:
revolutionary socialists followed the example of Lenin and the Bolsheviks (called
themselves communists), while reformist socialists, the Mensheviks, who practiced a
form of constitutional politics, embraced what is called social democracy, based on
common ownership and planning, and remolded socialism in terms of welfare,
redistribution and economic management. The collapse of communism brought about
by the eastern European revolutions of 1989-91 made some to proclaim the death of
community: human beings linked by a common humanity.
fraternity: sharing a common humanity, human beings are bound together by a
sense of comradeship or fraternity (brotherhood). Socialists prefer cooperation
to competition, and favor collectivism over individualism. Collectivism
empowers the bonds of community, while competition pit individuals against
each other, breeding resentment, conflict and hostility.
social equality: is the central value of socialism, socialists emphasize the
importance of social equality, an equality of outcome as opposed to equality of
opportunity as the essential guarantee of social stability and cohesion.
need: material benefits should be distributed on the basis of need, rather than
simply on the basis of merit or work. The satisfaction of basic needs (hunger,
thirst, shelter, health, personal security and so on) is a prerequisite for a
worthwhile human existence and participation in social life.
social class: social class is seen as a significant social cleavage. Socialists regard
the working class as the oppressed and exploited one, but at the same time the
agent of social change, even social revolution. Class division are remediable
through the eradication of economic and social inequalities or their substantial

common ownership: in the form of either Soviet-style state collectivization or

selective nationalization (a mixed economy) is seen as a means of harassing
material resources to the common good, with private poverty being seen to
promote selfishness, acquisitiveness and social division.

Marxism: has been seen as a major enemy of western capitalism, at least in the period
1917-91, highlighting the difference between Marxism as a social philosophy derived
from the classic writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and the phenomenon of
20th century communism, which revised classical principles. The collapse of
communism is not a sign of its death as a political ideology; it may give Marx, now
divorced from the vestiges of Leninism and Stalinism, a fresh new life.
historical materialism: the materialist conception of history highlights the
importance of economic life and the conditions under which people produce
and reproduce their means of substance. The economic base, consisting of
essentially the mode of production or economic system, determines the
ideological and political structure, therefore, social and historical development
can be expressed in terms of economic and class factors.
dialectal change: the driving force of historical change is the dialect, a process
of interaction between competing forces that result in a higher stage of
development. In its materialist version, this model implies that historical
change is a consequence of internal contradictions within a mode of production
reflected in class antagonism. Dialect is an impersonal force shaping both
natural and human processes.
alienation: it's the process whereby, under capitalism, labor is reduced to a
mere commodity, and work becomes a depersonalized activity. Workers, thus,
are alienated from the product of their labor, from the process of labor, from
fellow workers, and ultimately, from themselves as creative and social beings.
Unalienated labor is thus an essential source of human fulfillment and selfrealization.
class struggle: is the central contradiction within a capitalist society derived
from the existence of private property, creating a division between the
bourgeoisie or capitals class, the owners of the means of production, and the
proletariat, who do not own property and thus subsist through selling their
labor (wage slaves). The bourgeoisie is the ruling class, with economic power
through the ownership of wealth, but also it exercises political power through
the agency of the state and possesses ideological power because its ideas are
the ruling ideas of the age.
surplus value: under capitalism, the proletariat is necessarily and systematically
exploited; all value derives from the labor used up in the production of goods,
this means the quest for profit forces capitalist enterprises to extract "surplus
value" from their workers by paying them less than the value of their labor.
Capitalism is therefore inherently unstable, because the proletariat cannot be
permanently reconciled to exploitation and oppression.

proletarian revolution: Marx believed that capitalism was doomed and that the
proletariat was its "grave digger", and capitalism would pass through a series of
increasingly serious crises of overproduction, bringing the proletariat to
revolutionary class consciousness (accurate awareness of class interests and a
willingness to pursue them). Proletarian revolution will be inevitable, and will
occur through a spontaneous uprising aimed at seizing control of the means of
communism: the proletarian revolution will lead to a transitionary socialist
period during which a dictatorship of the proletariat would be required to
contain a counter-revolution mounted by the dispossessed bourgeoisie, but as
the fully communist society comes into existence, this proletarian state withers
away. The communist society would be classless, the wealth will be owned in
common by all, and the system of commodity production will be replaced by
one of production for use to the satisfaction of genuine human needs and for
the free development of all.

Other ideological traditions

Fascism: although fascist beliefs date back to the late 19 th century, they were fused
together and shaped by the First World War and its aftermath, in particular by the
mixture of war and revolution that characterized in the period. The two principal
manifestations of fascism were Mussolinis Fascist dictatorship in Italy in 1922-43, and
Hitlers Nazi dictatorship in Germany in 1933-45.
Values such as rationalism, progress, freedom and equality were overturned in the
name of struggle, leadership, power, heroism and war. Fascism is a form of
anticapitalism, antiliberalism, anti-individualism, anticommunism and so on, though it
created an image of an organically unified national community. The fascist ideal is that
of the new man, a hero, motivated by duty, honor and self-sacrifice, prepared to
dedicate his life to the glory of his nation or race, and to give unquestioning obedience
to a supreme leader. However, Italian fascism was an extreme form of statism, based
on unquestioning respect and absolute loyalty towards a totalitarian state. German
National Socialism was constructed on the basis of racialism, and its two core theories
were Aryanism (the belief that the German people constitute a master race and are
destined for world domination), and a virulent form of anti-Semitism that portrayed
the Jews as inherently evil, and aimed at their eradication (the Final Solution).
Anarchism: it is the belief that law, government and the state are either wholesome or
indispensible. The central theme is the belief that political authority in all its forms
(especially in the form if the state), is both evil and unnecessary. In this sense, free
individuals manage their own affairs through voluntary agreement and cooperation is
developed on the basis of two rival traditions: liberal individualism (desire to
maximize liberty and choice) and socialist communitarianism (human capacity for
social solidarity that arises from our sociable, gregarious and cooperative natures).

Feminism: feminist aspirations date back to Ancient China, but only with the
publication of Mary Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Women in 1792, it
became a political theory. With the women's suffrage movement in the 1840s and
1850s, feminist ideas reached a wider audience, the so-called first-wave feminism.
Second-wave feminism emerged in the 1960s, expressing more radical and
revolutionary demands of the growing Women's Liberation Movement (WLM). The
underlying themes of feminism are, first, that society is characterized by sexual or
gender inequality and, second, that this structure of male power can and should be
Liberal feminists (reformist): try to understand female subordination in terms
of the unequal distribution of rights and opportunities in society. They are in
favor of reform of the "public" sphere, enhancing the legal and political status
of women and improving their educational and career prospects, than with
reordering "private" or domestic life.
Socialist feminists: they highlight the links between female subordination and
the capitalist mode of production, drawing attention to the economic
significance of women being confined to a family or domestic life where they
relieve male workers of the burden of domestic labor, rear and help to educate
the next generation of capitalist workers, and act as a reserve army of labor.
Radical feminists: they believe that gender divisions are the most fundamental
and politically significant cleavages in society, because all societies, historical
and contemporary, are characterized by patriarchy, the institution whereby
that half of the population which is female is controlled by that half which is
male. They proclaim the need for a sexual revolution that will restructure
personal, domestic and family life. In its extreme form, radical feminism
portrays men as "the enemy", and proclaims the need for women to withdraw
from male society, a stance sometimes expressed in the form of political
Environmentalism: its roots can be traced back to the 19th century revolt against
industrialization. Environmentalism reflects concern about the damage done to the
natural world by the increasing pace of economic development and anxiety about the
declining quality of human existence and, ultimately, the survival of the human
species. Environmentalism develops an ecocentric world view that portrays the human
species as merely part of nature.
Religious fundamentalism: it views politics as being secondary to the "revealed truth"
of religious doctrine, that is, the sacred texts, on which political and social life should
be based. Some believe that fundamentalism is an aberration, a symptom of the
adjustment that societies make as they become accustomed to a modern and
secularized culture, others think it's a consequence of the failure of secularism to
satisfy the abiding human desire for higher or spiritual truth.

Christian fundamentalism: is a result of the emergence of the "New Christian

Right", which campaigns against abortion and for the introduction of prayers in
US schools and a return to traditional family levels.
Jewish fundamentalism in Israel: represents a collection of small religious
parties, as a result of attempts to prevent parts of what the Jewish homeland
being seceded to an emerging Palestinian state.
Hindu fundamentalism in India: is a resistance to the spread of western
secularism and to the influence of rival creeds such as Sikhism and Islam.
Islamic fundamentalism: is the idea that intense and militant faith in Islamic
beliefs should constitute the overriding principles of social life. The goal is to
establish an Islamic state based on the principles of shari'a law.

The term democracy can be traced back to Ancient Greece, and it means rule by the
people, and it was usually used to refer to "the many" or "the poor". As per Abraham
Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, democracy is the government of the people, by the
people and for the people.
The people refer to all the people, the entire population of the country, who can be
viewed as a single, cohesive body, bound together by a common or collective interest.
This view generates Rousseau's model of democracy, based on the general will or
collective will, rather than the private will of each individual. The people may in
practice be taken as "the majority", as division and disagreement exist within all
communities. This doesn't mean the application of "the tyranny of the majority"
The government by the people implies that people govern themselves, that they
participate in making the crucial decisions that structure their lives and determine the
fate of their society. This participation can be through direct democracy, participation
of citizens in the tasks of governments, referendums, mass meetings or even
interactive television or through representative democracy, with brief and limited
popular participation in government, the central feature of democratic participation is
the act of voting, thus the public doesnt exercise the power themselves. When people
vote, they take decisions and structure their own lives while choosing who will make
those decisions on their behalf.
The government for the people allows little scope for public participation of any kind,
direct or indirect. It can be found in the totalitarian democracies that developed under
fascist dictators such as Mussolini and Hitler, because they articulated the interests of
the people, thus implying that a true democracy can be equated with an absolute

Models of democracy
Each model of democracy offers its own version of popular rule: classical democracy,
protective democracy, developmental democracy and people's democracy.
Classical democracy
It is based on the polis (city-state) of Ancient Greece. Athenian democracy amounted
to a form of government by mass meeting: all major decisions were made by the
Assembly (Ecclesia), to which all citizens belonged, setting meetings at least 40 times a
year. When full-time officials were needed, they were chosen on a basis of lot/rota
(short terms) to ensure that they constituted a microcosm of the larger citizenry. The
executive was a Council consisting of 500 citizens and a 50-strong Committee, in turn,
made proposals to the Council. The president of the Committee held office for only a
single day once in a lifetime. The only concession was to military generals who were
eligible for reelection.
The citizens were prepared to shoulder the responsibility of public office and decisionmaking. The only drawback was the political activity was restricted to Athenian-born
males who were over 20 years of age. Slaves (the majority of the population), women
and foreigners had no political rights whatsoever. In this light, the Athenian polis could
be seen as the very antithesis of the democratic ideal.
Nevertheless, this classical model of direct and continuous popular participation in
political life is present in the township meetings of New England, in the USA and in the
communal assemblies in the smaller Swiss cantons.
Protective democracy, Developmental democracy, People's democracy

Consensual and majoritarian democracies

Typization and comparison of democracies
Arend Lijphart (1984): Democracies: Patterns of Majoritarian and Consensus
Government in Twenty-One Countries
Lijphart (1999): Patterns of Democracy Government forms and performance in 36
Two main ideal types of democracies
It is a continuum, not two distinct categories. Internal coherence both
theoretically and empirically.
2 main dimensions: executive/party and unitary/federal

Majoritarian democracy: refers to democracy based upon majority rule of a society's

citizens. Majoritarian democracy is the conventional form of democracy used as a
political system in many countries.

Though common, majoritarian democracy is not universally accepted - majoritarian

democracy was famously criticized as having the inherent danger of becoming a
"tyranny of the majority" whereby the majority in society could oppress or exclude
minority groups.
Consensual democracy: was developed in response that emphasizes rule by as many
people as possible to make government inclusive, with a majority of support from
society merely being a minimal threshold. Therefore, it is the application of consensus
decision-making to the process of legislation in a democracy. It is characterized by a
decision-making structure which involves and takes into account as broad a range of
opinions as possible, as opposed to systems where minority opinions can potentially
be ignored by vote-winning majorities. Consensus democracy also features increased
citizen participation both in determining the political agenda and in the decisionmaking process itself.

Main difference between majoritarian (Westminster) and consensual democracies:

Legitimate decision (political aspect) based on: majority vs. widest possible
Institutional solution: formation of majority and unrestricted use of mandate
vs. Restricting majority rule (checks and balances) and empowering minorities

Two ideal types - overview



Party systems



single-party governments


Executive domination over


Formal and informal division of powers

Unicameral, or asymmetric

Symmetric bicameral, representation of


Unitary state

Federal or decentralised state

Lack of written constitution,

majority rule

Strong written constitution, minority veto,

checks and balances

Two-party system

Multiparty system





Multi-dimensional party system

FPTP / Relative majority /

Plurality electoral system


(representative democracy)

Wide use





Important Examples
UK: traditionally closest to Westminster model, but devolution process, currently
coalition government etc.
Switzerland, Belgium: Typical examples of consensual democracies: federal states,
multiparty systems, oversized grand-coalitions, referenda, symmetrical bicameral
legislatures etc.
NL, SWE, NOR: Close to consensual type in many aspects, but also majoritarian
features: unitary states, unicameral parliaments etc.
Germany: Closer to consensual, but no use of referenda at the national level, and
usually stable minimal winning coalitions
Spain: closer to majoritarian, but increasing regionalization
USA: checks and balances, separation of powers, federal state, very stable and rigid
constitution all typical features of a consensual democracy; on the other hand the
electoral system and the two-party system are very typical of Westminster

Partly organic, historical development, partly matter of choice: possible internal
Recall: social and political cleavages according to Lijphart there needs to be a
congruence (match) between the social/political structure (cleavages) and the type of
democracy: if there is a complex cleavage structure (e.g. ethnic, religious minorities,
etc.) then consensual institutions will improve the quality of democracy
Advantages / disadvantages...
In sum, Lijphart concludes that the consensual model is better: it cannot be proven
that the majoritarian type performs better in economic terms, however the consensual
ones definitely perform better in terms of the quality of democracy


State: is a political association that establishes sovereign jurisdiction within defined
territorial borders, and exercises authority through a set of permanent (public)
institutions, which are responsible for collective organization of communal life and are
funded at the publics expense.
Sovereign: because it exercises absolute and unrestricted power in that it
stands above all other associations and groups in society.
Public: in contrast to the private institutions of civil society; public bodies are
responsible for making and enforcing collective decisions.
Legitimate: the decisions of the state are usually (although not necessarily)
accepted as binding on the member of society, because they are made in the
public interest of for common good; the state supposedly reflects the
permanent interests of society.
Instrument of domination: state authority is backed up by coercion to ensure
that its laws are obeyed and that transgressors are punished. A monopoly of
legitimate violence (Max Weber) is the practical expression of state
Territorial association: the jurisdiction of the state is geographically defined
and it encompasses all those who live within the states borders, whether they
are citizens or noncitizens. In the international stage, the state is an
autonomous entity.
According to Max Weber, the state was defined by its monopoly of the means of
legitimate violence over a territory.

Republic: is a form of government in which power resides in the people, and the
government is ruled by elected leaders run according to law, rather than inherited or
appointed (such as through inheritance or divine mandate).
Monarchy: is a system of rule dominated by one person. In general usage it is the
institution which the post of the head of state is filled through inheritance or dynastic
Absolute monarchies: the monarch claims a monopoly of political power.
Examples: Saudi Arabia, Nepal and Morocco.
Constitutional monarchies: the monarch fulfills an essentially ceremonial
function largely devoid of political significance. Examples: Spain, the
Netherlands and the UK. The political authority is not based on popular


Federal Systems (Federalism)

Examples: USA, Belgium, Canada, Mexico, Austria, Russia, India, Brazil, Germany,
Switzerland (1. pillar of EU), Pakistan, Australia, Nigeria, Malaysia.
Federalism: is the political structure that distributes power territorially within a state.
It requires the existence of two distinct levels of government, neither of which is
legally or politically subordinate to the other. Its central feature is the sharing of
sovereignty between central and peripheral institutions to avoid abuse of power.
Federal systems are based upon a compromise between unity and regional diversity,
between the need for an effective central power and the need for checks or
constraints on that power. Possible roots and objectives: the largest countries in the
world opted to introduce federal systems to avoid problems of governability,
concentration of power, political (in)stability in case of heterogeneous societies;
pooling of power and resources.
Features of federalism
Each federal system is unique in the sense that the relationship between federal
(national) government and state (regional) government is determined not just by
constitutional rules, but also by a complex of political, historical, geographical, cultural
and social circumstances. There is a further contrast between federal regimes that
operate a separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of
government (typified by the US presidential system) and parliamentary systems in
which executive and legislative power is fused. Certain features are common to most,
if not all, federal systems:
Two relatively autonomous levels of government: both central government
(the federal level) and regional government (the state level) possess a range of
autonomous powers that the other cannot encroach upon, including a measure
of legislative and executive authority and the capacity to raise revenue and
thus enjoy a degree of fiscal independence. In German and Austria, the central
government is the key policy-maker, and provincial government is charged with
the responsibility for the details of policy implementation. Examples: States in
the USA, the 16 Lnder in Germany.
Written constitution: the responsibilities and powers of each level of
government are defined in a codified or written constitution, under a formal
legal framework with separation of powers to guarantee the autonomy of each
level and to ensure amendments in the constitution are not made unilaterally.
Constitutional arbiter: the formal provisions of a constitution are interpreted
by a supreme court as an arbiter in case of disputes between federal and state
levels of government, that it, it has discretional jurisdiction on both levels.

Linking institutions: the regions and provinces have a representative in the

process of central policy-making in a bicameral legislature, in which the second
chamber/upper house represents the interest of the states.

Unitary Systems
Unitary system: is a form of government as one single power in which the central
government is ultimately supreme and any administrative divisions (subnational units)
exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate. In a sum, the
national institution (central government) has the sovereign power. The majority of
contemporary states have unitary systems of government.
In the UK it's the Parliament that possesses, at least in theory, unrivalled and
unchangeable legislative authority. The Parliament can make or unmake any law it
wishes; its powers are not checked by a codified or written constitution; there are no
rival UK legislatures that can challenge its authority, and its laws outrank all other
forms of English and Scottish law. Any system of peripherical or local government
exists at the pleasure of the center; local institutions can be reshaped, reorganized and
even abolished at will; their power/responsibilities can be contracted as easily as they
can expand. However, the relationship between the center and the peripherical is a
complex political, cultural and historical factors being as significant as more
constitutional ones. There are two peripherical authorities in a unitary state in terms
of center-periphery relationships:
1) Local government: it's the government specific to a particular locality, for example,
a village, district, town, city or county. It's a form of government that has no share in
sovereignty and is thus entirely subordinate to central authority or, in federal system,
to state or regional authority. The degree of decentralization in unitary systems varies
from country to country.
The UK: it traditionally possesses a relatively decentralized local government
system, with local authorities exercising significant discretion within a legal
framework laid down by Parliament, in favor of a local democracy (local
autonomy and goal of popular responsiveness).
2) Devolved assemblies: they possess a measure of democratic legitimacy; they are
very difficult to weaken and impossible to abolish.
Spain: although it has been a unitary state since the 1570s, Spain is divided
into 50 provinces, each of which exercises a measure of regional selfgovernment and in 1979, 17 autonomous communities were created after
General Franco's death.
Devolution: is the transfer of power from central government to subordinate regional
institutions. Devolved bodies thus constitute an intermediate level of government
between central and local governments. However, devolution differs from federalism
in that, although their territorial jurisdiction may be similar, devolved bodies have no

share in sovereignty; their responsibilities and powers are derived from, and are
conferred by, the center.
Administrative devolution: it implies only that regional institutions implement
policies decided elsewhere.
Legislative devolution (home rule): it involves the establishment of elected
regional assemblies invested with policy-making responsibilities and a measure
of fiscal independence.
Scottish Parliament (legislative devolution): it has tax-varying powers (the ability to
raise or lower income tax by three pence in the pound) and primary legislature
authority in domestic policy areas. Control of constitutional issues, defense, foreign
affairs, national security and relations with the EU continue to be reserved to
Westminster Parliament.
Welsh Assembly (administrative devolution): it has control over taxation and only
subordinate/secondary legislative power.

Classical unitary states

Examples: Republic of Ireland, Greece
Unified and centralized state control
Regional/local level subordinated central government, limited autonomy

Decentralized unitary states

Examples: the Netherlands, Portugal
Local governments independent on central government, with broad autonomy

Devolving unitary states

Examples: United Kingdom
Partially decentralized state power
Regional units which in certain policy areas have independent decision-making
power and own government (Scotland)

Regionalized unitary states

Examples: Spain, Italy
Regions with significant, constitutionally guaranteed autonomy and elected
leaders (legislature, government)

Confederation: is a qualified union of states in which state retains its independence,
typically guaranteed by unanimous decision-making. This form of government has
generally proved to be unsustainable.
Features of confederations:
They establish the most loosest and decentralized type of political union by
vesting sovereign power in peripheral bodies;
Member states join forces in order to more efficiently solve certain tasks or to
deal with critical issues (such as defense, foreign affairs, or a common
Member states retain their sovereignty/independence (decisions based on
consensus = right to veto);
The supranational level is mainly coordinating/mediating;
The confederal principle is most commonly applied in the form of
intergovernmentalism as embodied in international organizations such as the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United Nations (UN), the Organization of
African Unity (OAU) and the Commonwealth of Nations.
The USA was originally a confederation, first in the form of the Continental
Congresses (1774-81), and then under the Articles of Confederation (1781-89).
Confederations either transform themselves into federal states (as in the USA) or
succumb to centrifugal pressures and disintegrate altogether (as the case of the CIS Commonwealth of Independent States).
Historical examples: Switzerland (CH), Sweden-Norway (1814-1905), SerbiaMontenegro (2003-2006)
Recent examples: CIS, EUs 2. and 3. pillar, (international organisations: UN, NATO,
WTO, etc.)

Separation of powers: the doctrine of separation of powers proposes that each of the
three functions of government (legislation, execution and adjudication) should be
entrusted to a separate branch of government (the legislature, the executive and the
judiciary). Its purpose is to fragment government power in such a way as to defend
liberty and keep tyranny at bay. In its formal sense, it demands independence in that
there should be no overlap of personnel between the branches. However, it also
implies interdependence, in the form of shared powers to ensure that there are check
and balances. There are three distinct branches of government:
Legislatures: make law, they enact legislation;
Executives: implement law, they execute the law;
Judiciaries: interpret law, they adjudicate on the meaning of the law.

This division of government into legislative, executive and judicial institutions has been
sustained by the doctrine of the separation of powers, and has been the traditional
basis on which to analyze government since the time of Montesquieu. This view is
seriously misleading, however. For instance, executives possess some ability to make
law, through devices such as decrees or orders, and usually have the capacity to
influence, if not shape, the formal legislative process. Furthermore, the enactment of
law is only one of the functions of legislatives, and not necessarily their most
important ones.

Checks and balances: to prevent one branch from becoming supreme, protect the
"opulent minority" from the majority, and to induce the branches to cooperate,
government systems that employ a separation of powers need a way to balance each
of the branches. Typically this was accomplished through a system of "checks and
balances", the origin of which, like separation of powers itself, is specifically credited to
Montesquieu. Checks and balances allow for a system-based regulation that allows
one branch to limit another, such as the power of Congress to alter the composition
and jurisdiction of the federal courts. Both bipartite and tripartite governmental
systems apply the principles of the separation of powers to allow for the branches
represented by the separate powers to hold each other reciprocally responsible to the
assertion of powers as apportioned by law.


Legislature: is the branch of the government which has the power to enact, amend,
and repeal laws. A variety of terms can be used to describe political bodies with very
similar functions: congress (USA), national assembly (France), House of
Representatives (Japan), parliament (Singapore), congress of deputies (Spain), and so
on. Students of comparative politics usually classify such bodies as assemblies,
legislatures or parliaments.
Functions of assemblies:
Legislation: they have power to make law in the hope that the laws made will
be seen as authoritative and binding, because assemblies are the forum in
which proposed laws can be openly discussed and debated; and they are
constituted so as to suggest that people make the law themselves. However,
most legislative proposals and programs originate from the executive;
therefore parliaments have little positive legislative power. Moreover, the
negative legislative power of assemblies (their ability to reject or amend
proposed laws) is also limited. All too often, legislation is passed THROUGH
assemblies, not BY assemblies.
Representation: they have a representative role in providing a link between
government and the people. They are seen as bodies that stood for the people
themselves, that is, an important feature of democratic government.

Scrutiny and oversight: they have the ability to constrain or check executive
power, as the legislative and representative roles have declined in significance.
They have become scrutinizing bodies, to deliver responsible and accountable
government. For this, they use different mechanisms: in parliamentary
systems: ministers are subject to regular oral and written questioning (in the
UK House of Commons); practice of interpellation, that is, oral questioning
followed by a vote to establish the confidence of the assembly in the answers
given (Germany and Finland).
Political recruitment and training: they often act as major channels of
recruitment, providing a pool of talent from which leading decision-makers
emerge. In many developed and developing states, assemblies recruit and train
the next generation of political leaders, thus giving them experience of political
debate and policy analysis. However, parliamentarians gain experience of
politics as rhetoric (the art of using language to persuade or influence) or
speechifying, but they have few opportunities to acquire the bureaucratic
and managerial skills required to run government.
Legitimacy: they have to promote the legitimacy of a regime by encouraging
the public to see the system of rule as rightful. Their ability to mobilize
consent depends largely on their ability to function as popular conventions,
endorsing law and policies in the name of the public as well as in their interest.
They also have a propaganda/educational role while instructing citizens about
the affairs of government and the major issues of the day.
Structure of assemblies
The members of assemblies may be elected (on the basis of population), appointed or
even selected by inheritance, or any combination of these methods. The principal
structural differences between assemblies are whether they comprise one chamber or
two, and the nature of role of their committee systems.
Unicameralism: is the practice of having one legislative or parliamentary
chamber, which consists of one chamber/house. Unicameral legislatures
typically exist in small and homogeneous unitary states, where a second
chamber is considered unnecessary. Unicameral assemblies are considered
more effective than bicameral ones, especially in terms of responding to the
needs of small and relatively cohesive societies.
Bicameralism: the fragmentation of the legislative power, established through
the existence of two (co-equal) chambers in the assembly; its a device of
limited government. About half the worlds states retain two-chamber, or
bicameral, assemblies. Bicameralism is usually seen as the central principle of
liberal constitutionalism. All of the worlds 16 federal states have bicameral
legislatures, and in 14 of them the second chamber represents the provinces or
component states. Most second chambers are constitutionally and politically
subordinate to first chambers, which are usually seen as the locus of popular
authority, particularly in parliamentary systems, in which government is
generally responsible and drawn, largely, from the lower house.

Committee systems
Committee: is a small group composed of members drawn from a larger body and
charged with specific responsibilities.
Ad hoc committees: are set up for a particular purpose and split when the task
is complete.
Permanent/standing committees: they have enduring responsibilities as an
institutionalized role.
Almost all assemblies have a committee system of some sort and they are seen as the
power houses of assemblies, the very hub of the legislative process, whereas
parliamentary chambers are for talking, committees are for working.


Parliament / Assembly / Congress etc.




Making and breaking governments (in PARLIAMENTARY
systems only!)
Control of executive (scrutiny, oversight)
Political publicity
Political legitimation


Usually direct





Functional: representative/deputy (PM), plenary sessions

standing (permanent) and ad hoc (temporary)
Political: fractions/caucuses, independents


Unicameral (one single





Arena (policy-influencing, executive-dominated)

Transformative (policy-making assembly)



Executive: is the branch of government responsible for the implementation of laws
and policies made by the legislature. The executive branch extends from the head of
government to the members of enforcement agencies such as the police and the
military, and includes both ministers and civil servants. Member of the executive can
be categorized in two ways:
Political executive: in parliamentary systems, the political executive comprises elected
politicians, ministers drawn from and accountable to the assembly: their job is to make
policy in accordance with the political and ideological priorities of their party, and to
observe its implementation. Roles and responsibilities:
Ceremonial duties: state occasions, foreign visits, international conferences,
ratification of treaties and legislation, these are the duties carried out by chief
executives, senior ministers or secretaries;
Control of policy-making: the political executive is expected to develop
economic and social programs that meet the needs of more complex and
politically sophisticated societies and to control the state's various external
relationships in an increasingly interdependent world. They also exercise a wide
range of law-making powers, using decrees, orders and other instruments;
Popular political leadership: the executive is expected to mobilize support that
ensures the compliance and cooperation of the general public, because without
support from the public or from key groups in society, policy implementation
becomes difficult, perhaps impossible. The unpopularity of a particular
government can lead to the mechanism for removing and replacing that
Bureaucratic management: chief executives, ministers and secretaries
constitute a "top management" charged with running the machinery of
government, having the responsibility for particular policy areas and for the
bureaucrats engaged to administer those areas. However, politicians often lack
the competence, managerial experience and administrative knowledge to
control a sprawling bureaucratic machine effectively.
Crisis response: when crisis break out in either domestic or international
politics it is the executive that responds, by virtue of its hierarchical structure
and the scope it provides for personal leadership. It is common for assemblies
to grant political executives near-dictatorial powers in times of war, and for
executives to seize "emergency powers" when confronted by domestic crisis
such as natural disasters, terrorist threats, industrial unrest and civil disorder.
However, the power to declare "states of emergency" and to impose effective
executive rule is subject to abuse.
Official/bureaucratic executive: comprises appointed and professional civil servants
whose job it is to offer advice and administer policy, subject to the requirements of
political neutrality and loyalty to their members.

In the USA: the president is the only elected politician in the executive. Cabinet
members are appointed officials, and all the senior and many middle-ranking civil
servants are politically partisan and temporary.
Executives tend to be centralized around the leadership of a single individual, like
Montesquieu had defended, "this branch of government, having need of dispatch, is
better administered by one than by many".
Two separate posts in the Executive can be identified, although they may be held by
the same person:
Head of state: is an official of formal authority and largely symbolic
Head of government (chief executive): a post that carries policy-making and
political responsibilities. Beneath the chief executive, a range of ministers or
secretaries have responsibility for developing or implementing policy in specific
areas, such as economics and foreign ministers, who usually hold leading
positions. They are entitled to sit in the cabinet or in senior committees.
Cabinets have the responsibilities that range from the sharing of policy-making
power in a form of collective leadership to the offering of advice and the
broader coordination of executive policy. At a lower level are the massed ranks
of bureaucrats and administrators who are concerned less with policy
formulation than with policy implementation. Finally, there are enforcement
agencies, such as the police or the armed forces, and an array of quasigovernmental bodies, popularly known as quangos, they help to put
government policy into effect, but they are staffed by personnel who enjoy at
least formal independence from the government itself.

Executive presidents (USA, Russia, France): they hold both posts.

Comparisons of the Executive power

USA: government = all federal institution (administration)
UK: government = prime minister, secretary of state, senior and junior
ministers (cabinet=senior ministers)
Europe: government = prime minister + ministers
Role of prime minister: Most powerful in the USA; Chancellor in Germany; First
among equals in Belgium.




Organisation of implementation/execution of legislation

Political control/oversight and governing of state
Policy planning, coordination
Influencing legislation
Secondary legislation
Foreign policy / defence


Prime Minister/President/Chancellor: direct/indirect

Minsters/cabinet members: appointment


PM, ministers, junior ministers, state secretaries


Majority v Minority
Single Party v Coalition

Head of state: is the personal embodiment of the state's power and authority. The
head of state enjoys the highest status in the land and is often a figure of essentially
symbolic or formal significance, with real power residing in the hands of the head of
government (a post that may or may not be held by the same person). Heads of states
exercise a range of ceremonial powers and responsibilities, such as awarding honors,
assenting to legislation and treaties, and receiving visiting heads of state. Their power
to appoint the head of government (which is significant in parliamentary systems) may
nevertheless allow some scope for residual political influence. The head of state is
usually either a president or monarch.
Evolution of head of state
Head of state I

Main power (legislative and executive)
Representative Parliament legislation
Governments executive power
Governments are responsible to Parliaments not to head of state
Mostly symbolic, ceremonial role (exceptions: presidential systems)

Head of state II
Inherited vs direct/indirect elections
Appointment: on his own accord (discretional) or joint proposals

Strong (effective) or weak (ineffective) veto power

Foreign and defense policy: In charge in the USA and France, but mostly
Part of the executive branch?


Head of State


awards, pardons)




Nominations, appointments
Competences in relation to legislature (calling elections,
convening Parliament, dissolving parliament, addressing
parliament, initiative, veto)
Foreign policy competences
Commander in chief of the armed forces

Inherited v. direct/indirect elections


n.a. (office)


Strong (US) v. Weak/ceremonial (Swe)


Judiciary: is the branch of government that is empowered to decide legal disputes. The
central function of judges is therefore to adjudicate on the meaning of the law, in the
sense that they interpret or construct law. It is particularly important in states with
codified constitutions, where it extends to the interpretation of the constitution itself,
and so allows judges to arbitrate in disputes between major institutions of
governments or in ones between the state and the individual.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague (known as the World Court) is the
judicial arm of the United Nations. It provides a forum in which disputes between
states can be settled, although, as international law respects the principle of
sovereignty, this requires the consent of all parties.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has revised the idea established by the 1945-46
Nuremberg trials of war crimes or crimes against humanity, and it has indicted and
arrested a number of people for mass crimes.

In addition, there are international courts with regional jurisdiction, such as the EUs
European Court of Justice in Luxembourg and the European Court of Human Rights in
Features and responsibilities of the Judiciary:
Neutrality: is the absence of any form of partisanship or commitment, it
consists of a refusal to take sides. As a principle of individual conduct, applied
to the likes of judges, it implies the absence of political sympathies and
ideological tendencies. Therefore, judges should be strictly independent and
nonpolitical actors, as the vital guarantee of separation between law and
Judicial independence: is the constitutional principle that there should be a
strict separation between the judiciary and other branches of government; it is
an application of the separation of powers.
Protection of constitution;
Interpretation of constitution;
Judicial review: is the power of the judiciary to review and possibly invalidate
laws, decrees and the actions of other branches of government, notably the
legislature and the executive. The principle of judicial review stems from the
existence of a codified constitution (written) and allows the courts to strike
down as unconstitutional actions that are deemed to be incompatible with
the constitution. In uncodified systems (based on the Common Law law
based on custom and precedent) is restricted to the review of executive actions
in the light of ordinary law using the principle of ultra vires (beyond the
powers) to determine whether the executive has acted outside its powers. Its
seen as a cornerstone institution of liberal constitutionalism, as it ensures a
government of laws.
Impeachment: is the formal process for the removal of a public official in the
event of personal or professional wrong-doing.
Constitutional review of international treaties;


Constitutional Courts


Protection of Constitution
Interpretation of Constitution
Judicial review (ex ante / ex post, abstract / concrete)
Constitutional review of international treaties


Parliamentary consensus (super-majority) v. joint decision

of several branches of government


Ordinary courts v. separate CC

Chief and assoiciate justices


Judicial activism v. j. restraint

Ombudsman (Scandinavian word): is an officer of the state who is appointed to
safeguard citizens rights in a particular sector and investigate allegations of
maladministration, ranging from the improper use of powers to the failure to follow
procedures and simple incompetence. The role of an ombudsman is to supplement,
not replace, normal avenues of complaints such as administrative courts or elected
representatives. However, as ombudsmen are concerned with wider administrative
morality, their investigations and findings seldom have the force of law. While the
ombudsman system may strengthen the exercise of oversight and redress, it has been
criticized as tokenistic (ombudsmen lack executive power), and because it relies too
heavily on the qualities of the incumbent (who is usually an insider).




"the peoples attorney"

Safeguarding citizens rights against maleadministration by
the state administration/bureaucracy
Initiating legal remedies
Formulating recommendations
replacing judicial branch)




Elected (usually by parliament or regional entity)


n.a. (office)


general v. sectoral omb.




Central banks


Formulation and execution of monetary policy

Issuing bank notes and coins
Setting interest rates, managing currency exchange rate
Securing and maintaining price stability
Maintaining value of national currency
(Contributing to other goals, e.g. supporting govermnemts
economic policy goals, growth, etc.)




Monetary Council


Usually independent v. Subordinate national v. community



Presidential systems (Presidentialism)

Examples: USA, most Latin-American States, several African and Asian states.
Presidentialism: it's a personalized leadership that is disconnected from parties or
other government bodies, in the manner of an executive president. In a presidential
system, the head of state often is also the head of government, and most importantly,
the executive branch does not derive its democratic legitimacy from the legislature.
Characteristics of presidential systems

Unified executive: the President is head of state and head of executive branch
Broad presidential powers
Election (direct?) of executive independent on legislature (strong legitimacy):
No political accountability to legislature: the executive branch doesnt have the
obligation to respond to the legislature branch.

Parliamentary executives in presidentialism have the following features:

spatial leadership: prime ministers tend to distance themselves from their

parties and governments by presenting themselves as "outsiders" or
developing their own ideological stance.
populist outreach: the attempt by prime ministers to engage directly with the
public by claiming to articulate their deepest hopes and fears.
personalized election campaigns: the media's obsession to portray leaders as
the "brand image" of their parties or governments.
personal mandates: the trend of prime ministers to claim electoral authority
and to view themselves as the ideological consciences of their parties or
special advisors: the trend for prime ministers to rely on hand-picked political
advisors rather than cabinets, ministers or senior civil servants.

President: is a formal head of state. There are two types of presidents:

Constitutional or nonexecutive presidents: is a feature of parliamentary
systems and have responsibilities confined largely to ceremonial duties. The
president is merely figurehead, and executive power is wielded by a prime
minister and/or a cabinet. Examples: India, Israel, Germany.
Executive presidents: they combine the formal responsibilities of a head of
state with the political power of a chief executive. They constitute the basis of
what is called presidential government, as opposed to parliamentary

US-style presidential government

Indirect election of the president through the 538 electors;
The president is designed the head of state, chief executive, commander-inchief of the armed forces and chief diplomat, and is granted wide-ranging
powers of patronage and the right to veto legislation;
The president nominates judges, confirm nominations of the Senate,
impeaches and amends constitution;
The Congress is invested with strong counterbalancing powers: there is a
structure of party system generally weakening the powers of the President;
Separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches
to avoid abuse of power through the checks and balances formula.
The success of particular presidents depends on the relationships with Congress, the
federal bureaucracy, the Supreme Court and the mass media.
Congress (bicameral legislature)
House of Representatives: it can override veto and impeach federal officials.
Senate: it has the function to advice and consent, to use the checks and
balances formula to oversee other elements of the Federal government; it
legislates, controls budget, approves nominations and treaties.

o Term: 6 years
The checks and balances formula allows one branch to limit another. It can declare
laws and acts unconstitutional.
Features of the US Congress

Does not elect/approve executive

Does not have the power to remove the executive for political reasons
Cannot be dissolved
Cannot question the executive (not accountable)
Legitimacy separate from the executive branch (dual legitimacy
Representatives cannot be members of the executive branch (administration)
Has primacy in the legislative process (drafting bills) divided government
possible and common
Separation of powers: main division between branches of government

Features of the UK Parliament

Elects executive
Does have the power to remove the executive (PM)
Can be dissolved (by PM)
Regularly questions executive (accountable)
"Single chain of delegation
Members of the executive (government/cabinet) are always MPs
Executive dominates the legislative process
Divided government impossible (majority rule)
Fusion of powers: main division between government (majority) and opposition

Other presidential systems

Absolute dominance of President;

Lack of limits (institutional checks and balances) to presidential power;
Centralized government;
Direct election of the president: the electorate elects the president directly;
Lack of genuine party competition;

Discussion: Perils of Presidentialism?

What is Linzs question and main argument?
Why was/is the question relevant?
What is your opinion?

Some clues:
Paper written by one of the foremost scholars of democratic transition,
especially in Southern Europe and South America in 1989-90
Can/should the U.S. model be transferred?
Alleged and real merits of presidentialism vs. parliamentary regimes:
Stability or rigidity? (e.g. fixed term in office, independent branches)
Moderator or deepening of conflicts? (e.g. deadlocks)
Dual legitimacy and/or tribune of the people?
Majority or plurality?
Accommodation of minority views, interests (i.e. zero-sum game)
Personalization of power

Semi-presidential system
Typical examples: France (5th Republic), Poland (1993-97), Finland (until 2000), Russia
("quasi-Presidential system).
Semi-presidentialism: is a system of government in which a separately elected
president presides over a government drawn from, and accountable to, the assembly,
that is, a president exists along with a prime minister (elected by the Assembly and
answerable to it) and the Cabinet. Its a mixing of parliamentary and presidential
Examples: Austria, France, Finland, Portugal.
Hybrid systems: there is a separately elected president invested with a range of
executive powers and, as in parliamentary systems, a government, usually
featuring a prime minister and a cabinet, drawn from and accountable to the
Finland and Austria: such systems operate largely through a division of executive
responsibilities, allowing the president to concentrate on foreign affairs and broader
constitutional issues, while the prime minister and cabinet take charge of domestic
Features of a semi-presidentialism system:

Directly elected president

Strengthening of executive powers (compared to parliamentary systems)
Government accountable to legislature/parliament
Divided executive branch: President is head of the executive branch or a player
in it with broad powers (e.g. foreign policy, EU-affairs etc.)
Problems of "cohabitation
Cohabitation: when the President is from a different political party than the majority
of the members of parliament. It occurs because such a system forces the president to
name a premier (prime minister) that will be acceptable to the majority party within

parliament. Thus, cohabitation occurs because of the duality of the executive: an

independently elected President and a prime minister who must be acceptable both to
this president and to the legislature.

Parliamentary systems (Parliamentarianism)

Examples: Germany, Italy, Ireland, India, Pakistan
Parliamentarianism: is a system of government in which the executive branch derives
its democratic legitimacy from, and accountable to, the legislature (parliament). The
executive and legislative branches are thus interconnected. In a parliamentary system,
the head of state is normally a different person from the head of government.
Countries with parliamentary systems may be constitutional monarchies, where a
monarch is the ceremonial head of state while the head of government is almost
always a member of the legislature (such as United Kingdom, Sweden and Japan), or
parliamentary republics, where a mostly ceremonial president is the head of state
while the head of government is regularly from the legislature (such as Ireland,
Germany, Pakistan, India and Italy). In a few parliamentary republics, such as
Botswana, South Africa and Suriname, as well as German states, the head of
government is also head of state, but is elected by and is answerable to the legislature.
Therefore, there's a weak head of state (monarch or president) with symbolic powers.
The head of state is usually, but not always, indirectly elected.
Characteristics of parliamentary systems:
The office of prime minister is the central link between the legislative and
executive branches of government, its holder being drawn from and
accountable to the assembly, and also serving as chief executive and head of
the bureaucracy;
Prime-ministerial government reflects the centralization of executive power in
the hands of the prime minister and the effective subordination of both the
cabinet and departmental ministers.
Total primacy of legislature (Parliament): that is, the Parliament is the most
important organ of government and it has legally "unlimited competence;
Political accountability: the Executive is politically accountable to Parliament: it
means that the Executive reports its actions/decisions to the Parliament;
Election of executive (investiture): the Parliament elects the Executive
No-confidence motion: is a statement/vote which states that a person in a
superior position (government, managerial, etc.) is no longer considered fit to
hold that position. A parliamentary motion demonstrates to the head of state
(president) that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in one or
more members of the appointed government.
Majority rule: is a decision rule that selects alternatives which have a majority,
that is, more than half of the votes.

Separation of head of state (president) and head of government (executive);

Unified executive branch: the executive and legislative branches are
Prime ministers: sometimes seen as chancellors, as in Germany, minister-presidents as
in the Netherlands, or referred to by a local title like the Irish Taoiseach, are heads of
government whose power is derived from the leadership of the majority party, or
coalition of parties, in the assembly. The most important of the powers they possess is
the control of patronage, the ability to hire and fire, promote and demote, ministers.
A prime minister serves as the chief executive, and the post of head of state is usually
held by a non-partisan figure.
In Germany, prime ministers are stronger than UK prime ministers because they can
be removed by a vote of no "constructive no confidence", that is, the Bundestag can
remove a government only by approving an alternative one, not merely by
withdrawing support from the existing one (as occurs in the UK).

The executive power in parliamentary systems has three essential features:

Since executive power is derived from the assembly and closely linked to party
politics, a separate head of state, in the form of a constitutional monarch or
nonexecutive president, is requires to fulfill ceremonial duties and act as a
focus of patriotic loyalty.
The political executive is drawn from the assembly, which means that the
separation of the personnel between the legislature and executive found in
presidential systems does not occur in parliamentary systems.
The executive is directly responsible/answerable to the assembly, or at least to
its lower chamber, in the sense that it survives in government only as long as it
retains the confidence of the assembly.

Evolution of Parliamentary system

Parliament I

Origins of modern Parliaments:

No Parliaments in ancient Greece. Why?
Advisors, consultants of the king (UK)
Representation to constrain the king (F)
Representation of the aristocracy until the XX. century
Sovereignty and representation of the people
Main decision-maker body
Control of executive (scrutiny, oversight)
Political legitimization

Public arena
(Parliament / Assembly / Congress , etc.)

Parliament II
Control of executive power
Government is responsible for the Parliament. Exception: presidential systems
Tools: hearings, committees, interpellations, questions, motion of no
confidence, etc. Presidential systems: impeachment
However: party discipline. It is the government which controls the Parliament

Parliament III

Second chamber: it's the lower house chosen by the people + higher house:
Territorial (USA, Germany)
Historical-traditional. Hereditary members (House of Lords - England)
Corporative, sectorial (Ireland)
Partisan (Czech Republic)
symmetrical/asymmetrical relation to the lower House
Arena vs Transformative:
Arena: party discipline, week committees. Main function: provide publicity,
policy-influencing, executive-dominated
Transformative: week party discipline, strong committees, policy-making
1 chamber (Hungary)

Chancellor type / Prime-ministerial

Origin: Bonn, 1949
The legal and political elevation of the PM/Chancellor:
Personal and organizational powers
Strong political and ideological leadership, policy coherence
Effective parliamentary accountability
Limited accountability of cabinet ministers
Chosen by and accountable to PM
Cannot be individually removed by vote of no confidence
Constructive vote of no confidence
An alternative majority is a prerequisite
Continuity of government, stability of government

In German case powers of Chancellor significantly curtailed by federalism: vertical

separation of powers
Example: Hungary since the 2000s.

Virtually all political executives (in all different systems of government) feature a
cabinet of some sort. A cabinet is a committee of senior ministers who represent the
various government departments or ministries. Cabinets enable government to
present a collective face to assemblies and the public. Without a cabinet, government
could appear to be a personal tool held by a single individual. Cabinets are an
administrative device designed to ensure the effective coordination of government
policy. A cabinet has two central features:
it is the principal link between the legislative and executive branches of
government and its members are drawn from and accountable to the
parliament, but also serve as the political heads of the various government
it is the senior executive organ, and policy-making responsibility is shared
within it, the prime minister being first in name only.
The system is usually supported by collective responsibility, all the cabinet ministers
are required to "sing the same song" and support official government policy.
In France Council of Ministers
In USSR Politburo
Core executive: is a network of institutions and people who play key roles in the
overall direction and coordination of government policy. It usually encompasses the
prime minister, senior policy advisers, leading cabinet members, cabinet committees,
and staff in strategically important government departments.
Cabinets in Presidential systems
Like in the USA, the cabinet exists to serve the president by acting as a policy adviser
rather than a policy maker. The cabinet, in theory, is the apex (top part) of the
executive in states that respect the principle of cabinet government, such as the UK,
most Commonwealth countries, and several European ones, including Italy, Sweden
and Norway.
In the UK and elsewhere, the full cabinet is merely the hub of a cabinet system,
comprising committees of subject specialists able to examine policy proposals in
greater detail and depth than is possible in the cabinet itself. This system weakens the
cabinet both because it strengthens the levers of control that are available to the
prime minister, who sets up and staffs committees, and because full cabinets usually
lack the time and expertise to challenge proposals that emanate from committees.

Modification of classical British parliamentary system

FPTP electoral system

Single-party, majority governments
Organized and disciplined political parties
Legislative and executive branch strongly intertwined
Main division between government and opposition
Dominance of government (cabinet) over legislature

Parliamentary systems in continental Europe

Similar features, but usually coalition and/or minority governments
But even in Britain an apparent presidentialization of Prime Ministerial roles and
power since Thatcher.

Directorial system
Example: Switzerland
Directorial system: is a form of government ruled by a college of several people who
jointly exercise the powers of a head of state and/or a head of government.
Switzerland is the only contemporary country which maintains a directorial system
of government, where directories rule all levels of administration, federal, cantonal
and municipal.
After the electorate elects the parliament, the Swiss Federal Council (the executive) is
elected by the Parliament for 4 years, and is composed of 7 members who cannot be
dismissed, and among whom one is President and one is Vice-President, although
these are relatively symbolic. There is no relationship of confidence between
Parliament and the Federal Council. It is a shared system of government that reflects
and represents the heterogeneity and multiethnicity of the Swiss people. Direct
popular elections are used at the local level.
Electorate Parliament Executive

New systems of government in Europe

Before WW II:
Usually parliamentary systems
The need to change:
Permanent government crises (Weimar, French Fourth Rep. etc.), mainly due to
fragmented party systems, weak governments and strong radical parties on
both flanks.
Main objectives:
Political stability by strengthening executive

Chancellor-type (Prime-ministerial) government and
Semi-presidential (mixed) system

Summary of the forms of governments


Gabriel Almond Sidney Verba: The Civic Culture (1963)

Notion of political culture:
Political orientations, attitudes toward the system as a whole and towards
components of the system;
Concept about the role of people in the political system;
In short: subjective side of politics.
Political culture: its the pattern of orientations to political objects such as parties,
government, the constitution, expressed in beliefs, symbols and values. Political
culture differs from public opinion in that it is shaped out of long-term values rather
than simply peoples reactions to specific policies and problems.
Political culture is defined by the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences as
"the set of attitudes, beliefs and sentiments that give order and meaning to a political
process and which provide the underlying assumptions and rules that govern behavior
in the political system".
Types of political culture

Participant culture - citizens pay close attention to politics and regard popular
participation as both desirable and effective.
Subject culture - more passivity amongst citizens and the recognition that they
have only a very limited capacity to influence government.
Parochial culture - absence of sense of citizenship, with people identifying with
their locality rather than the nation, and having neither the desire nor the
ability to participate in politics.

Civic culture: is a blend of all three types of political culture in that it reconciles the
participation of citizens in the political process with the vital necessity for government
to govern. Democratic stability is supported by a political culture that is characterized
by a blend of activity and passivity on the part of citizens, and a balance between
obligation and performance on the part of government. Therefore, it's a blend of
elements from the participant and subject attitudes: with active, rational voters who
at the same time are loyal to the elites and institutions.

Cleavages: in political science, cleavage is the division of voters into voting blocs. The
preliminary assumption is that voters dont come in predefined groups of pros and
cons, for or against a certain subject. Ballot analysis assumes that voters opt for a
certain party, or decide for the solution or option that comes closest to their own
position. Cleavage separates the voters into advocates and adversaries on a certain
issue, or voting for a certain party. If you imagine parties on a horizontal line for a
certain issue, cleavage is the vertical line that divides the parties into supporters and
opponents of the issue.
Paul Lazarsfeld et al 1948: The Peoples Choice- panel studies with sociodemographic variables
Seymour Martin Lipset and Stein Rokkan 1967: Cleavage Structures, Party
Systems and Voter Alignments

Reinforcing and cross-cutting cleavages: Belgium and Switzerland

Impact on party system: polarized and fragmented
freezing hypothesis: the party systems of the 1960s reflect, with few but
significant exceptions, the cleavage structures of the 1920s

An empirical model

Deegan-Krause (2007): 1 pillar- difference, 2 pillar- division, 3 pillar- cleavege


Structural voting, group voting;

Value-based votings;
Positional division;

Alford-index from the 60s: Difference in voting patterns: proportion of left vote within
the working class minus proportion of left vote within the middle class

Cleavage theory: Is there any relevance on 21st century?

Embourgeoisement: after the extension of welfare-states, many joined the
middle class regarding their living standards
Mass media
Homogenous political communities
Personalization, role of campaigns, etc.

New approaches
Putnam: Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy
Investigated the Italian cities and regions development since the middle age
Social capital: horizontal and vertical trust
Causal relationship between social capital and economic well-being
Norms of generalized reciprocity [for favors received] and networks of civic
engagement encourage social trust and cooperation because they reduce incentives to
defect, reduce uncertainty, and provide models for future cooperation.

National Institutions Index: citizens confidence in key institutions such as the military,
the judiciary and courts, and national governments, as well as confidence in the
honesty of elections.
(correlation between National Institutions index and corruption index)
Ronald Inglehart value change shift towards post-materialist values:
Generations after WW2 tend to be less materialistic (wellfare, security): for
them, self-expression and liberty are more important
Maslow's hierarchy of needs
Marginal utility function
Mannheims socializazion theory
Survival values & Self-expression values
Survival values
Primarily: money (tax cut, increase social benefits)
Public safety
respect for authority
have relatively low levels of tolerance for abortion and divorce
have relatively high levels of national pride
Self-expression values
environmental protection,
tolerance of diversity
rising demands for participation in decision making in economic and political
gender equality (Men make better political leaders than Women)
When jobs are scarce, men have more right to a job than women
Hard (vs: imagination, tolerance) work is one of the most important things to
teach a child
good income and safe job are more important than a feeling of
accomplishment and working with people you like

has not attended a meeting or signed a petition to protect the environment

has not and would not sign a petition
homosexuality is never justifiable
Voting behavior
Party identification
model (Michigan)

Rational choice







Voters are

Voter are

Voter are social


Nature of




Unity of



Groups and

Rational choice model

Anthony Downs: An Economic Theory of Democracy (1957)

Supply-demand model
Political preferences and goals versus costs of voting and cost of information
Probability to influence the outcome
Rational uninformed voter experts and ideological shortcuts
issue-voting (weighted)

Party identification model

Converse and others: The American Voter (1960)

Not political but psyhological goals: self-expression, duty
Like football fans
Partisanship determines the policy preferences, not vice versa
But what factors shape partisanship?

Hegemony: is the ascendency or domination of one element of a system over others,

such as the predominance of a state within a league or confederation. For Gramsci, it
is the ability of a dominant class to exercise power by winning the consent of those it
subjugates, as an alternative to the use of coercion.
Legitimacy: its the right to rule; it gives authoritative or binding character to an order
or command, transforming power into authority. According to Max Weber, there are
three types of authority:

Traditional authority (typical of traditional monarchies and aristocracies):

legitimacy is based on long-established customs and traditions and its
legitimate because it has always existed, that is, its been sanctified by history
because earlier generations had accepted it; thus, citizens obey the rules bound
to the past; it is traditional because the power is passed by inheritance, whose
power belongs to a lord, king, ruler;
Charismatic authority: (developed after the First World War): legitimacy is
based on the power of an individuals personality, on his charisma, on the trust
in the extraordinary character of a leader; citizens obey the laws because they
attribute extraordinary features to those in power (leader, king, prince), that is,
there is a devotion to a leader; the systems of personal rule are supported by
cults of personality; it is convenient when other forms of government arise
Mussolini, Hitler, Napoleon, Ayatollah, Fidel Castro.
Legal-rational authority (typical of modern states, the rule of law): legitimacy is
linked to a clearly and legally defined set of rules; it is based on the law; citizens
obey decreed documents and rational rules (electoral system, for example);
there is a need for consensus between leaders and voters, by recognizing that
something works, thus, there is participation in political life; as the authority is
attached to an office rather than a person, it is far less likely to be abused or to
give rise to injustice.

Revolution: in the earliest usage of the term, it meant cyclical change as in the
restoration of proper political order in the so-called Glorious Revolution (1688) in
England. The French Revolution (1789), however, established the modern concept of
revolution as a process of dramatic and far-reaching change, involving the destruction
and replacement of an old order. Revolutions are popular uprisings involving extralegal mass action; they are often, although not necessarily violent in character.
Revolutions bring about fundamental change in the political system itself.
Coup dtat: its a seizure of power by a small band. It represents a change of policy or
displacement of a governing elite.

Representation: is a relationship through which an individual or group stands for, or
acts on behalf of, a larger body of people.
Majoritarian representation: is an electoral method which gives the right to appoint
all the representatives to the majority of the electors, denying representation to all
Absolute (or two-round system): in the absolute majoritarian system, a
candidate or party needs more than 50% to be elected. In case there is not a
single candidate who receives more than 50% of the votes in the first round, a
second round will be organized at a later date. In most countries only the top

two or three candidates can take part in the second round. This system is used
in 15 of the 25 countries with direct presidential elections including Austria,
Brazil, Columbia, Finland, Russia and France (National Assembly, presidential
One district, one seat
Every voter has one vote
A candidate needs at least half of the votes to win the
2nd round with limited number of candidates
Alternative vote: is used in elections to the Australian House of
Representatives and in Ireland for Presidential elections. Australia is divided
into 148 single-member constituencies. Instead of a simple 'X', voters rank their
preferences among candidate (1, 2, 3...). To win, candidates need an absolute
majority of votes. Where no-one gets over 50% after first preferences are
counted, then the candidate at the bottom of the pile with the lowest share of
the vote is eliminated, and their votes are redistributed amongst the other
One district, one seat
Ranked voting
Second preferences
o First-past-the-post": it is used for election to the lower chamber in 43
countries including the United Kingdom (House of Commons), Canada,
India, the United States, and many Commonwealth states. The aim of
plurality systems is to exaggerate the share of seats for the leading
party in order to produce an effective working parliamentary majority
for the government, while simultaneously penalizing minor parties,
especially those whose support is spatially dispersed. The focus is
effective governance, not representation of all minority views. The basic
system of simple plurality voting in parliamentary general elections is
widely familiar: countries are divided into territorial single-member
constituencies; voters within each constituency cast a single ballot
(marked by a X) for one candidate; the candidate with the largest share
of the vote in each seat is returned to office; and in turn the party with
an overall majority of seats forms the government.
One constituency, one seat
Every voter has one vote
Most voted candidate wins the seat
o Plurality-at-large voting: also known as block vote or multiple nontransferable vote (MNTV), is a non-proportional voting system for
electing several representatives from a single multimember electoral
district using a series of check boxes and tallying votes similar to a
plurality election. Although multiple winners are elected
simultaneously, block voting is not a system for obtaining proportional

representation; instead, the usual result is that the largest single group
wins every seat by electing a slate of candidates, resulting in a landslide.
This system is used in England and Wales (local) Hungary (local).
One constituency, "n" seats
Every voter has "n" votes
The most voted "n" candidates gain the seats

Proportional representation (PR): is the voting system where divisions in an electorate

are reflected proportionately in the elected body, that is, the proportions of the votes
have to be translated equally into seats. If 30% of the electorate support a particular
political party then roughly 30% of seats will be won by that party. The essence of such
systems is that all votes contribute to the result, not just a plurality or majority of
them. Three types of voting systems are usually associated with PR:
Party-list PR systems: where political parties define candidate lists and voters
vote for a list; that is, they vote for a party rather than for specific candidates (a
"closed list"). The relative vote for each list determines how many from each
list are actually elected. An "open list" variant allows voters to indicate
individual candidate preferences. Voting districts can be as large as a province
or an entire nation, in which case a high degree of political proportionality is
Single transferable vote (STV): where voters rank candidates in order of
preference. During the count unused votes for winning and eliminated
candidates (that would otherwise be wasted) are transferred to other
candidates according to the preferences. STV can produce excellent
proportionality while enabling voters to elect independent candidates. It is
considered the best system since no votes are lost in the process of counting or
distribution of seats, and most of all, because voter can rank all candidates
according to their preferences. It is used in Northern Ireland, Ireland and
Malta, for national parliamentary elections.
One district, "n" seats
Ranked voting, quota
Remaining mandates are given out based on the secondary
preferences of the voters whose primary votes were collated
and thus contributed to the election of the winning candidates
(if any) or the secondary votes of the less voted candidates

Elements of PR systems
District magnitude
The number of representatives elected from a given district
The larger the magnitude, the more proportional the system
Way of allocating seats

Highest averages methods

Largest remainder
Electoral threshold

Electoral formulas
Largest remainder

q: quota, v: votes, m: mandates (seats)

Hare: q=v/m
Droop: q=v/(m+1)+1
Hagenbach-Bischoff: q=v/(m+1)
Imperiali: q=v/(m+2)

Highest averages
DHondt (divisors: 1; 2; 3; 4 etc.)
Sainte-Lagu (divisors : 1; 3; 5; 7 etc.)
Modified Sainte-Lagu (divisors : 1,4; 3; 5; 7 etc.)

Party-list PR systems
National list, national threshold
Every seat in one district
Every voter has one vote
Israel, the Netherlands, Slovakia
Regional list, national threshold

More electoral constituency

More seats in every constituency
Every voter has one vote
Sweden, Denmark, Austria

Regional list, regional threshold

More electoral constituency

Every voter has one vote
Only regional threshold
Spain, Belgium

Semi-proportional systems:
Single Non-Transferrable Vote (SNTV): where electors cast a single vote in a
multi-member district. It existed in Japan until 1994.
One district, "n" seats
Every voter has one (or less than "n") vote

Most voted "n" candidates gain the seats

Cumulative vote: where citizens are given as many votes as representatives,
and where votes can be cumulated on a single candidate (used in duel-member
seats in 19th Century Britain and in the State of Illinois until 1980).
Limited vote: is similar to the cumulative vote, but voters are given fewer votes
than the number of members to be elected (used in elections to the Spanish

Mixed systems: are hybrid systems that combine a non-proportional and a

compensatory proportional vote.
Mixed-member proportional representation (MMP): also called the Additional
member system (AMS) exists in Germany and New Zealand. Voters have two
votes, one for a single-member district (constituency representative), and one
for a regional or national party list that determines the balance of the parties
in the elected body. The system can achieve highly proportional
Mixed-member majoritarian (MMM): or parallel voting, it's a voting system,
which exist in Japan and Lithuania, that combines first-past-the-post voting
(FPTP) with party-list proportional representation. MMM systems are
characterized by the use of a two-part ballot in their assembly elections. The
first section allows a voter to elect a representative using plural means in single
or multi-seat districts; the second section utilizes proportional party list means
to transform votes into seats; that is, the two tiers of the MMM system are
parallel to each other in terms of electoral results.

Gerrymandering: in the process of setting electoral districts, gerrymandering is a

practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group
by manipulating district boundaries to create partisan advantaged districts, by
increasing the borders of a certain territory in order to get more votes.
In addition to its use achieving desired electoral results for a particular party,
gerrymandering may be used to help or hinder a particular demographic, such as a
political, ethnic, racial, linguistic, religious, or class group, such as in U.S. federal voting
district boundaries that produce a majority of constituents representative of AfricanAmerican or other racial minorities, known as "majority-minority districts."

Allocation of the seats




Votes %






SMD seats



Party list seats



Total seats



Seats (%)






Party list seats





Total seats





Seats (%)







Political party: is a group of people that is organized for the purpose of winning
government power, by electoral or other means. Four characteristics usually
distinguish political parties from other groups:

aim to exercise government power by winning political office;

are organized bodies with a formal membership;
adopt a broad issue focus, addressing each area of government policy;
are united by shared political preferences and a general ideological identity;

First parties
From early 19th century to 1880 USA, UK, France
Party of notables (cadre party)
Small groups within Parliament, sharing interest/goals or possible values cooperating
and loosy organizing
No extra-parliamentary organization
Parties of the modern kind first emerged in the USA the Federalist Party (later the
Whigs the Republican Party) appeared as mass-based party

Functions of political parties

Political parties are defined by a central function the filling of political office and the
wielding of government power. The main functions are follows:
Representation (often seen as primary function of parties to respond to and
articulate the views of both members and the voters)
Elite formation & Recruitment nominating candidates. Providing states with
their political leaders.
Structuring voter choices
Goal formulation (Coordinating government policies) policy initiation,
formulation of coherent sets of policy options that give the electorate a choice
amongst realistic and achievable goals.
Contesting elections/proposing government alternatives
Interest articulation and aggregation development of vehicles through which
business, labor, religious, ethnic or other groups advance or defend their
various interests.
Political mobilization support for the regime itself (e.g. socialist parties in the
late nineteens was an important means of integrating the working class into
industrial society.
Political socialization articulation of values and attitudes which become part
of the larger political culture (propagation of ideology Marxism-Leninism,
National Socialism).

Organization of government formation of governments, parties give

governments a degree of stability and coherence, facilitate cooperation
between the two major branches of government (assembly and executive),
provide a vital source of opposition and criticism (inside and outside of

Political Spectrum Left x Right

It describes political ideas and beliefs, summarizing the ideological positions of
politicians, parties and movements. Its origin dates back to the French Revolution and
the positions that groups adopted at the first meeting of the French Estates-General in

state intervention

Types of parties

Cadre and mass parties

Representative and integrative parties
Constitutional and revolutionary parties
Left-wing and right-wing parties


Cadre and mass parties

Party of notables, dominated by an informal group of leaders who saw little
point in building up a mass organization.
Cadre to denote trained and professional party members who are expected
to exhibit a high level of political commitment and doctrinal discipline
Originally transforming from loose party organizations
Extra-parliamentary organizations, organized structures
Mostly liberal, Conservative
CPSU Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Nazi Party in Germany, the
Fascist Party in Italy.

Mass parties
Places are heavy emphasis on broadening membership and constructing a wide
electoral base.
E.G. German Social Democratic Party (SPD), the UK Labor Party
After WW1, with the expansion of suffrage (universal suffrage) enfranchised
masses (primarily workers) form political parties with mass membership and
Typically starting as extra-parliamentary organizations
Strong organizational and emotional ties to party: identification, lifestyle,
ideology in addition common interests.

Catch-all parties (Otto Kirchheimer)

Drastically reduce their ideological baggage in order to appeal to the largest
possible number of voters.
In Western-Europe and USA after WW2
The products of welfare societies and the strengthening middle-classes
Usually not new parties, but gradual transformation of exiting parties, which
seek to address all (or most) social groups by playing down ideological
differences and appeal to single social group
Race for the centre; see Downs theorem

Post-material parties

(single-issue parties)
After 1968
Generation born after WW2 with new values and preferences
Post-material issues, values
Environment, lifestyle, file-sharing, immigration

Cartel parties

Based on recognized common interests

Parties no longer just gatekeepers, but owners of power (political positions)
Become parts of the State
Richard Katz-Peter Mair

Representative Parties: Primary function being the securing of voters in elections.

The prevalence of these parties is based on rational choice models of political
Integrative parties: adopt proactive political strategies. They wish to mobilize, educate
and inspire the masses.
Constitutional parties: operate within a framework of rules an d constrains. They
enjoy formal independence and political neutrality. Respect the rules of electoral
Revolutionary parties: anti-system or anti-constitutional parties, either the left or
right. Aim to seize the power and overthrow the existing constitutional structure. In
some cases revolutionary parties banned as extremist or antidemocratic.
Left-wing parties (progressive, socialist, communist) commitment to change, in the
form of either social reform or wholesale economic transformation. Traditionally,
supported by the ranks of the poor and disadvantaged.
Right-wing parties (conservative and fascist parties in particular) generally uphold
the existing social order and are a force for continuity. Their supporters usually include
business interests and the materially contented middle classes.

Basis of classification
Number of parties (fractionalization, number of effective parties, number of
relevant parties)
Centrifugal-centripetal competition
Polarization: moderate or extreme
Ideological-pragmatic competition
Open-closed system

Maurice Duverger (1954)

Strong correlation between electoral system and party system
One-Two-and multiparty systems
Bipolary is a natural law of politics
Duvergers Law

Jean Blondel
Two-party systems
Two-and-a-half party systems (two large and one smaller party)
Multiparty system with (pre)dominant party
Multiparty system

Giovanni Sartori
Party and Party systems (1976)
Number of parties is not an absolute value
Criteria of RELEVANT parties: coalition potential or blackmail potential
Their size gives them the prospect of winning, or at least sharing, government power.

Party Systems: they are important not only because of the range of functions they
carry out, but also because the complex network of relationships between and among
parties. The major party systems:
One-party systems: single party enjoys a monopoly of power through the exclusion of
all parties. Function as permanent government. States are classified as one-party
1st type: state socialist regimes were ruling communist parties have directed
and controlled virtually all the institutions and aspects of society. Apparat the
party core (well-paid full-time officials). Control the state, economy and society.
2nd type: is associated with anticolonial nationalism and state consolidation in
the developing world (Ghana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe). They have usually been
built around the dominant role of a charismatic leader and drawn whatever
ideological identity they have possessed from the views of that leader.
Two-party systems: dominated by two major parties that have a roughly equal
prospect of winning government power.
Although a number of minor party may exist; the larger party is able to rule alone;
power alternates between these parties. UK & USA (Canada, Australia and New
Dominant-party systems (Japan): competitive in the sense that a number of parties
compete for power in regular and popular elections, but are dominated by a single
major party that consequently enjoys prolonged periods in power. Feature: tendency
for the political focus to shift from competition between parties to factional conflict
within the dominant party itself.
Multiparty systems: competition amongst more than two parties, reducing the
chances of single-party government and increasing the likelihood of coalitions.

Analysis of two recent elections

Main parties in Sweden
Politics of Sweden before 2014
Historically one of the strongest social democratic parties
Alliance for Sweden (four centre-right parties) won the 2006 and 2010 election
- First term: crisis management
- Second term:
* Minority government
* Divided opposition Left and Nationalists
* Problems of Saab
* Education reform
*Lowering VAT
European parliamentary election in May
- Social Democrats won
- Greens in second place
- Moderates 13.6%
- New actor: Feminist Initiative
No new vision of the government
- Fulfilled promises during the governance
Social Democrats:
- Tax hike on business
- Boost spending on education job creation and welfare
Government formation: Left Party 21%, Greens 25%, Social Democrats 112%,
Moderates 84%, Sweden Democrats 49%.

Politics of Romania before 2014
2009 Traian Bsescu was reelecte
- Candidate of the centre-right Democrat-Liberal Party
- Won the election by votes from abroad
2009-12 : Centre-right government led by Emil Boc (PD-L)
May 2012: Centre-left government formed by Victor Ponta (PSD)
Tensions between Bsescu and Ponta
November election: Social Democrats and National Liberals won a
Politics of Romania before 2014
2014: National Liberals left the coalition
- Crin Antonescu (leader of the PNL) vs Victor Ponta
- UMDR (etnic Hungarian party) joined the coalition
May European Parliamentary election
- Clear victory of PSD (38%)
- PNL 15%, PD-L 12%
Leadership of the PNL resigned
- Klaus Iohannis (ethnic German) elected party president
- Less nationalist agenda
Victor Ponta (PSD)
- Acting prime minister
- Proud to be Romanians
- Economic issues
Iohannis (Christian-Liberal Alliance)
- Anti-corruption candidate
- Successful mayor of Sibiu
Other candidates:
- Elena Udrea (PMP) supported by Bsescu
- Clin Popescu-Triceanu (PLR) former liberal prime minister
- Hunor Kelemen (UDMR) ethnic Hungarian
- Monica Macovei MEP of PD-L
- Corneliu Vadim Tudor (PRM) nationalist candidate

Public Policy and Interest Representation

The evolution of the public policy concept
The increasingly complex nature of the polity, the political process and the social subsystems
Modernization of society: new issues on the political agenda (welfare state,
states role in economic development, later environment etc.)
Growing involvement of citizens in the political process, democratisation:
universal suffrage, mass parties, interest groups, increased and new forms of
political participation
W. Wilson: "The Study of Administration (1887): the need to differentiate public
administration from politics

What is public policy

Formal or stated decisions, and dedicated/target-oriented actions of
government bodies (government in a wide sense)
A complex process, encompassing the full policy cycle (see below): linkage
between intentions (what government say it will do), actions (what
government actually does) and results (consequences of government action).
Not only formal decision-making: also informal players and mechanisms, also
implementation; not only legislation, but also budgetary appropriations and
other actions
B. Guy Peters: "Stated most simply, public policy is the sum of government
activities, whether acting directly or through agents, as it has an influence on
the life of citizens."

C. Cochran and E. Malone: "Public policy consists of political decisions for

implementing programs to achieve societal goals."
T. Dye : Public policy is "Whatever governments choose to do or not do."
Laswells famous book title: Who gets What, When and How? (1936)
What is the study of public policy?
Application/practice oriented political science (often case studies, but also
comparative public policy, comparing policy styles, decision-making
mechanisms, concrete schemes or broader policy responses)
Performed often by market-oriented policy institutes, political consultants,
Unlike studies of politics and polity, concentrates mainly on the output of
the political process
Studies the full policy cycle:
o What issues make it to the political agenda, why and how?
o Who makes the decisions? Are the stakeholders involved?
o What decision-making mechanisms are used?
o Do the policies efficiently respond to the identified challenges?
o Do the experiences effectively feed back into the policy process?
Public policy philosophies/theories
Different approaches and premises result in different definitions, rationales and
objectives of public policy:
Bureaucratic organisation models
Belief system models

Types of public policy

Distributive - extend goods and services to members of an organization, as well
as distributing the costs of the goods/services amongst the members of the
organization. Examples include government policies that impact spending for
welfare, public education, highways, and public safety, or a professional
organization's benefits plan.
Redistributive concerned with changing the existing distribution or allocation
of resources or benefits, of wealth, income, property, or rights among broad
classes or groups of the population
Regulatory - limit the discretion of individuals and agencies, or otherwise
compel certain types of behavior. These policies are generally thought to be
best applied when good behavior can be easily defined and bad behavior can

be easily regulated and punished through fines or sanctions. An example of a

fairly successful public regulatory policy is that of a speed limit.
Material vs. Symbolic: Public policies may also be described as either material or
symbolic, depending upon the kind of benefits they allocate.
Material policies actually either provide tangible resources or substantive
power to their beneficiaries, or impose real disadvantages on those who are
adversely affected. Legislation requiring employers to pay a prescribed
minimum wage, appropriating money for a public-housing program, or
providing income-support payments to farmers is material in content and
Symbolic policies, in contrast, have little real material impact on people. They
do not deliver what they appear to deliver; they allocate no tangible
advantages and disadvantages. Rather, they appeal to people cherished values,
such as peace, patriotism, and social justice.
The public policy circle
1) Initiation it sets the political agenda both by defining certain problems as issues
and by determining how those issues are to be addressed / agenda-setting the
ability to structure policy debate by controlling which issues are discussed or
establishing a priority amongst them.
Input side: deciding to decide which issues make it to the political agenda, why
and how?
Objective: The government should react in a timely and sufficient manner to the
Mechanisms need to be in place that facilitate channeling societal demands into
the political process.
On what issues policy is initiated, is a central characteristic of the society and the
political system (political culture etc.) in general responsiveness of the political
Stakeholder involvement see interest representation
The formulation of broad policy alternatives, role of media etc: also prerequisites
of a functioning democracy
Who initiates policies? Three models:
2) Policy-formulation - Analysis and politics determines how the agenda item is
translated into an authoritative decision: a law, rule or regulation, administrative
order, or resolution / decision-making
Output of policy process

Concrete legislative proposals, specific alternatives

Stakeholder involvement, planning, policy styles
Still, this stage is mostly influenced by insiders (see below)
Political control/governance and co-ordination vs. sectoral interests
3) Execution / implementation - Executive agencies (the bureaucracy) carry out, or
implement, policy. Implementation could include adopting rules and regulations,
providing services and products, public education campaigns, adjudication of disputes,
The outcome of the policy process
Seems simple, even taken for granted. But has many pitfalls, and is studied by
public policy analysis. Implementing the given program in practice: is it implemented
as intended? Does it have the desired impact?
Role of bureaucracy: information asymmetry do they duly inform policy makers
or do they pursue own agenda or sabotage political decisions? Is there effective
political control in place?
4) Evaluation - Numerous actors evaluate the impact of policies, to see if they are
solving the problems identified and accomplishing their goals. Evaluation looks at costs
and benefits of policies as well as their indirect and unintended effects. Congress uses
its oversight function and the General Accounting Office for evaluation, agencies
evaluate their own performance, and outside evaluators include interest groups, think
tanks, academia, and media. Evaluation frequently triggers identification of problems
and a new round of agenda setting and policy making.
Assessing the impact of public policy
Evidence-based policy-making: justification and policy learning
Feedback loops
3 criteria for assessing the success of policy:
Formal and informal evaluations
Bureaucracy, think tanks, sometimes mandatory
Democratic system: e.g. voters retrospectively evaluate government policy by
keeping/removing incumbents. Role of media.
Players of the public policy process
Macro level: state, government, legislature, parties (characterised by type of
democracy, or political regime: e.g. parliamentary, presidential etc.)
Meso-level: organised interests (see below), public and private interest groups,
umbrella organisations of civil society (pluralist vs. corporatist systems, see
Micro level: citizens, NGOs, direct democracy (political participation, activism
of civil society)


Interest group

Political party


Association of likeminded
flow of information,
cooperation, arranging
events etc.

Representing the interest of

the group or its members
interests, limited focus area)

interest of a given
social group (pars),
but usually formulate
wide societal, ideologybased
Pragmatism, catch-all
parties etc.


opinion in very specific
cases, in the narrow
policy area / issue

Aims to influence political

decisions, take part (formally
or informally) in policy
initiation and formulation, or
even later stages of the
policy cycle (see above)

Seeks to seize and

power (albeit indirectly
through elections and
and control the public
policy process.

Articulates and transforms


Aggregates interests



The formation of organized interests

Social group (e.g. workers) Interest (e.g. increasing real wages) Organized
interests/ Interest/pressure groups (e.g. trade unions).
Major organized interests
Political cleavages:

Capital/labor trade unions, employers federations

Urban/rural farmers associations
Industrial /Post-industrial Environmentalist / Green movements
Types of interest groups
Economic vs. Non-economic
Communal vs. Associational Groups
Public vs. Private interest groups:
Sectional/protective/functional groups: traditional policy
Promotional/attitude groups: new politics
These often coincide with insider and outsider groups, respectively
Often vague borders, various groups move between categories (e.g.
green movements green parties)
Factors of effective interest representation
Diffuse vs. Concentrated interests
Degree of organisation (membership) and centralisation
Access to the political system and the policy process (initiation, formulation):
insider/outsider status, policy style
Conflict potential
Resources (financial and other)
Legitimacy / public support