Party Institutionalization and Legislative Organization: The Evolution of Agenda Power in the Polish Parliament

36 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 16 Sep 2013

See all articles by Royce Carroll

Royce Carroll

University of Essex - Department of Government

Monika Nalepa

The University of Chicago

Date Written: August 2013

Abstract

This paper examines conditions under which parties in parliamentary government establish dominance over the legislative process. We focus on two aspects of this dominance: negative agenda control and legislative success. We argue that the logic of organizing a legislature for majority control is conditional on features of institutionalized parties. To examine this question, we examine the evolution of the Polish Sejm, a case that emerged from a transition to democracy with a weak and fragile party system yet with strong formal legislative institutions that give influence to individual MPs and opposition parties. Using roll call votes and bills submitted during four terms of the Polish Sejm (1997-2011) in conjunction with interviews with MPs, we examine how changes in the party system have influenced the government’s use of legislative institutions to establish majoritarian control over the legislature. We argue that, in contrast to governments formed by the transitional parties that ultimately collapsed, governments led by more institutionalized parties were able to effectively delegate power to the their leadership to pursue collective party goals and to reduce the opposition’s legislative influence. With better-organized, more programmatic and more stable parties, governments can establish increasingly strong control over legislative institutions— even during periods of cabinet crisis.

Suggested Citation

Carroll, Royce and Nalepa, Monika, Party Institutionalization and Legislative Organization: The Evolution of Agenda Power in the Polish Parliament (August 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1642432 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1642432

Royce Carroll

University of Essex - Department of Government ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

Monika Nalepa (Contact Author)

The University of Chicago ( email )

517 Pick Hall
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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