How much power do oppositions have? Comparing the opportunity structures of parliamentary oppositions in 21 democracies

  • 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 analyses 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: In majoritarian democracies, weak control mechanisms are countered by excellent opportunities to publicize alternatives. Consociational democracies are characterized by strong control mechanisms, but provide only weak opportunities to present alternatives. Moreover, in Southern Europe, control mechanisms and opportunities to present alternatives are weak, while both are pronounced in Nordic Europe. The results are summarized in three indices that can easily be applied in future research examining oppositions and their power.

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Author:Julian L. GarritzmannORCiDGND
Document Type:Preprint
Date of Publication (online):2017/02/13
Date of first Publication:2017/02/13
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2023/05/30
Tag:Parliamentary opposition; comparative institutional analysis; opportunity structures; parliaments; power
Edition:Author accepted manuscript
Page Number:31
Author Accepted Manuscript of: Julian L. Garritzmann (2017) How much power do oppositions have? Comparing the opportunity structures of parliamentary oppositions in 21 democracies. The Journal of Legislative Studies, 23:1, 1-30,© 2017.
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 32 Politikwissenschaft / 320 Politikwissenschaft
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY-NC - Namensnennung - Nicht kommerziell 4.0 International