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Political Control through Parliamentary Inquiries: How Committees of Inquiry Strengthen the Quality of Democracy

Comparative Politics
Democracy
Governance
Institutions
Parliaments
Corruption
Matthias Keppel
University of Vienna
Matthias Keppel
University of Vienna

Abstract

In the parliaments of Western democracies, committees of inquiry are an important control instrument whose task it is to examine the implementation of the Confederation in certain matters. This can primarily concern the activities of governments or their members, but it is also possible to investigate the activities of independent authorities. As many of these committees have shown in recent decades, they do not fit into political structures without tension. The planned contribution will now determine what influence these studies have on legislation and how the recommendations and findings from these committees influence the quality of democracy in political systems. The current committees of inquiry of the Austrian Parliament will be analysed and compared with those in Germany and Great Britain. The committees of inquiry of the Austrian Parliament were reformed and transformed into a minority right only in 2015. Since then, highly controversial events have been investigated and the population has been given a comprehensive picture of Austrian politics by creating transparency. But it is not only the parliamentary investigations in Austria, such as those on the Eurofighter fighter aircraft or the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, that offer themselves. The Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Committee on the investigations into disinformation and 'fake news' in connection with the 'Cambridge Analytica scandal' can also serve to inform the population and initiate legal regulations for better controls.