Parties’ use of new information and communication technologies has increased; party organizations, campaigns and member management have become professionalized; parties have opened up new opportunities for participation, and the distinction between members and supporters has become blurred. The conditions for party membership have thus changed. The question is whether party members’ attempt to exert influence in the political parties, and thus their contribution to policy coordination, as well as their perception of party democracy, have changed. Based on two surveys among Danish party members from 2000 and 2012, it is shown that both members with party internal office and new members increasingly seek influence in their parties in 2012 compared to 2000, and that dissatisfaction with party democracy has increased significantly for members with party internal office, while new party members in 2012 are more satisfied with party democracy than new members were in 2000.
Political parties are central to our understanding of politics and we often treat parties as unitary actors. However, candidates for parliament compete with candidates from other parties as well as with candidates from their own party. For that reason, we ask: Do candidates from the same party agree on political issues? And if not, is cultivating a unique policy position a vice or a virtue for a candidate? Based on a survey among all parliamentary candidates in the 2011 Danish national elections, we find widespread disagreement within parties, but also variation between parties in how much the candidates agree or disagree. Moreover, we find that candidates who disagree with their party obtain more personal votes than candidates who toe the party line.
If we can explain party behavior we have come much closer to understanding political decisions. Kaare Strøm’s theory of party behavior from 1990 is an ambitious and influential attempt at predicting and explaining party behavior. In his model he endogenizes vote-seeking, policy-seeking and office-seeking within a rational neo-institutional framework. What parties prioritize depends on organizational and systemic factors. The great strength of the model is that it has the potential to explain party behavior by reference to these factors. However, the model is not without weaknesses. One way forward is to further test the model to assess and unfold its potential.
The Danish parliament, the Folketing, and the party groups of the Folketing have well-developed working procedures and an efficient decision-making process for determining policy, as reflected in the highly predictable results of the roll calls. The decision-making process rests not only on prior intra-party group coordination, but also on inter-party group coordination and coordination between the party groups and the committees. Against this background, the article analyzes, in a party group perspective, different types of coordination in the Folketing, in relation to roll calls, ministries, committees and the Europeanization process. The conclusions underpin former research results portraying party groups as the dominant actors in the Folketing and its committees.
Since 1993 coalition agreements have become a regular feature in Danish government formations. This article has coded all 1,751 laws passed for three governments between 1993 and 2007. It shows that coalition agreements affect government-opposition relations. First, government strength affects government strategy for passing the coalition agreement. Majority governments often use their own majority to pass the coalition agreement. Minority governments follow a ”log roll strategy” when they have majority with a permanent external support party. Minority governments without such support follow a compromise strategy. To the opposition, coalition agreements are part of the political competition with the government. As a consequence they react with more resistance to laws originating from a coalition agreement by asking more questions and voting more against them when they are passed.
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