Political Parties and Party Systems

By Alan Ware | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWELVE
PARTIES IN GOVERNMENT

SECTION A

Entering government can provide a variety of opportunities for individual politicians to pursue their own goals-whether those goals be advancing their particular policy priorities, enjoying the rewards of office, or increasing their influence within the party. Obviously, government is also a resource for the party-- controlling it provides the means of enacting public policy but also ways of strengthening the party itself. This is achieved, for example, by placing party supporters in administrative or quasi-administrative positions over which the governing party has influence. How important a resource government is varies. That a party has entered government does not necessarily mean that it, or indeed its coalition partners, moves public policies in the direction it wants. Nor is it the case that, for those in office, it is always 'to the victors, the spoils'; in some regimes being in government provides relatively few means of rewarding either the party's 'movers and shakers' or its faithful members.

Furthermore, the relative importance of public policy, on the one hand, and office and its rewards, on the other, varies enormously between regimes and also over time. A comparison will help to illustrate this point. During the Jacksonian era ( 1829-37) and for decades afterwards American parties used control of government to reward their supporters; at the city level, for example, employees served 'at the pleasure of the mayor', which meant that they could lose their jobs if they ceased to help their party or subsequently the other party won the mayoral election. It was a system driven primarily by office goals and not policy goals; there were policy differences between the parties, but party competition did not involve conflict over radically different political agendas. This use of government looks very different from that made by, say, the 1945-51 Labour government in

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Political Parties and Party Systems
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Figures xi
  • List of Tables xii
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • About This Book xvi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Parties 15
  • Chapter One - Parties and Ideology 17
  • Chapter Two - Supporters, Members, and Activists 63
  • Chapter Three - Party Organizations 93
  • Chapter Four - Parties in Non-Liberal- Democratic Regimes 124
  • Part II - Party Systems 145
  • Chapter Five - The Classification of Party Systems 147
  • Chapter Six - Why Party Systems Differ 184
  • Chapter Seven - Stability and Change in Party Systems 213
  • Chapter Eight - Party Systems in Non- Liberal-Democratic Regimes 245
  • Part III - Moving towards Government 255
  • Chapter Nine - The Selection of Candidates and Leaders 257
  • Chapter Ten - Campaigning for Election 289
  • Chapter Eleven - Voter Choice and Government Formation 317
  • Chapter Twelve - Parties in Government 349
  • Conclusions 377
  • Appendix 1 - France 383
  • Appendix 2 - Germany 388
  • Appendix 3 - Great Britain 391
  • Appendix 4 - Japan 395
  • Appendix 5 - United States 398
  • Notes 404
  • Index 417
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