How Much Power Do Oppositions Have? Comparing the Opportunity Structures of Parliamentary Oppositions in 21 Democracies

52 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2014

See all articles by Julian Garritzmann

Julian Garritzmann

University of Konstanz; University of Zurich

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

We cannot imagine a political system without opposition. Despite this crucial position in politics, political science has largely neglected to study oppositions. Attempting to fill this gap, this article analyzes the institutional opportunities of parliamentary oppositions. It offers a parsimonious framework by distinguishing two dimensions of opposition influence: Some institutions enable oppositions to control governments, while others offer opportunities to present alternatives. A comparison of oppositions’ opportunities in 21 democracies shows that countries fall into four groups along these dimensions, challenging some common wisdom. The results are summarized in three indices that can easily be applied in future research examining oppositions and their power.

Keywords: political oppositions, institutions, power, democracies, OECD, opportunity structure, parliaments

Suggested Citation

Garritzmann, Julian, How Much Power Do Oppositions Have? Comparing the Opportunity Structures of Parliamentary Oppositions in 21 Democracies (2014). APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2453716

Julian Garritzmann (Contact Author)

University of Konstanz ( email )

Fach D-144
Universitätsstraße 10
Konstanz, D-78457
Germany

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

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