Coalition Government, Subnational Style

Multiparty Politics in Europe’s Regional Parliaments

William M. Downs

Coalition Government, Subnational Style examines parliamentary democracy in the richly diverse area of subnational legislative assemblies. Comparing three different European democracies—Germany, France, and Belgium—William M. Downs provides a powerful account of the ways politicians and political parties negotiate the composition of new governments following elections in which no single party wins a clear majority.

The study reports findings from an unprecedented collection of information, including cross-national survey responses, interviews with political elites, and three decades of postelection studies of coalition building in the German state parliaments, the French regional assemblies, and the Belgian provincial councils and regional parliaments. Downs’s findings question key assumptions of democratic theory and raise important concerns about individual and organizational behavior in changing institutional and electoral environments, ultimately allowing for a deeper understanding of representation, power, and cooperation outside the more familiar arena of national parliamentary politics.

William M. Downs is assistant professor of political science at Georgia State University. He is the author of articles in Electoral Studies, West European Politics, and Local Government Studies.

Feb 1998
316 pp.  6 x 9

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Parliaments and Legislatures

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