The Power of Opposition How Legislative Organization Influences Democratic Consolidation
Proposing a novel way to look at the consolidation of democratic regimes, this book presents important theoretical and empirical contributions to the study of democratic consolidation, legislative organization, and public opinion.
Theoretically, Simone Wegmann brings legislatures into focus as the main body representing both winners and losers of democratic elections. Empirically, Wegmann shows that the degree of policy-making power of opposition players varies considerably between countries. Using survey data from the CSES, the ESS, and the LAPOP and systematically analyzing more than 50 legislatures across the world and the specific rights they grant to opposition players during the policy-making process, Wegmann demonstrates that neglecting the curial role of the legislature in a democratic setting can only lead to an incomplete assessment of the importance of institutions for democratic consolidation.
The Power of Opposition will be of great interest to scholars of comparative politics, especially those working on questions related to legislative organization, democratic consolidation, and/or public opinion.
Part I: On the Moderating Role of Parliamentary Procedures
1. Institutions, the Role of Opposition, and Democratic Consolidation
2. The Role of Parliamentary Procedures
3. Measuring Opposition Power
Part II: Policy-Making Power of Opposition Players and its Consequences for Democratic Consolidation
4. Methods and Data
5. Policy-Making Power of Opposition Players Around the World
6. Policy-Making Power of Opposition Players and Democratic Consolidation
7. Why Should We Care About Opposition Power? Conclusion and Implications
"This is an eye-opener on a topic of major political importance. The book demonstrates that successful functioning of democracy depends not only on the performance of the government but also on the political postures of the opposition, which are shaped in turn by the institutional prerogatives of the opposition in different political systems. The evidence is rich, the analysis is persuasive, and the conclusions are crucial for understanding the fate of democracies around the world. If you have time to read only one book, read this one."
Adam Przeworski, Carroll and Milton Professor Emeritus, New York University
"Why do electoral losers accept defeats and continue to support democracy? In this important new study, Simone Wegmann emphasizes the role of legislative institutions, showing that voters in countries with strong opposition rights are more satisfied with democracy than elsewhere. This is an original, thought-provoking contribution both to comparative legislative studies and democratic consolidation research."
Radoslaw Zubek, Associate Professor of European Politics, University of Oxford
"This is a path-breaking book about democratic consolidation. It shows that allegedly arcane details of legislative organization affect the opposition’s relative power in policy making, which in turn affects voters’ support for democracy. Wegmann connects two fields that have developed more or less independently: democratization and legislative studies. Her book is bound to open up important avenues for future research."
José Antonio Cheibub, Mary Thomas Marshall Professor, Texas A&M University