Parliamentary Control of Coalition Governments
Posted: 14 Oct 2010
Date Written: June 2010
Parliamentary democracy means that the political executive is accountable to the parliamentary majority. However, when both the parliamentary majority and the cabinet consist of two or more distinct political parties, it is often difficult for the parliamentary majority to monitor and control the executive. In this article, we focus on political delegation from parliamentarians to the executive branch under multiparty parliamentary government. We identify the most important mechanisms parliamentary parties employ to remedy the accountability problems that may arise, as well as the arenas in which they are exercised: the executive arena, the parliamentary arena, and the extraparliamentary arena. We discuss the effectiveness of accountability mechanisms arena by arena, examine their use in 15 Western European countries that frequently feature coalition governments, and review our knowledge of how parliaments and parliamentary parties control political delegation and accountability in coalition governments.
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