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The Determinants of the Appointment of Non-Partisans to Coalition Cabinets: The Case of New Democracies

Europe (Central and Eastern)
Comparative Politics
Executives
Coalition
Elena Semenova
Freie Universität Berlin
Elena Semenova
Freie Universität Berlin
Keith Dowding
Australian National University

Abstract

In parliamentary systems, the relationship between the voters, political parties, the prime minister, and ministers can be described as the chain of delegation. The voters cast their votes, and the winning political parties form a coalition and negotiate portfolios. Selecting ministers to coalition governments is one of the primary functions of coalition partners. In order to decrease the likelihood of moral hazard and adverse selection problems, political parties control the ministerial recruitment by extensively screening candidates and keeping tabs on those selected. These internal processes lead to the establishment of a recruitment pattern, i.e., ministers in coalition governments have usually spent many years in various party organizations. However, in semi-presidential countries (i.e., those with a popularly elected president and a cabinet that is responsible to both the president and the parliament), the situation is different because the president is also involved in cabinet formation and even in the selection of ministers. This involvement represents a breach of the chain of delegation known from parliamentary countries. Research has shown that in countries with popularly elected presidents, the proportion of non-partisans in cabinets is also high. This paper aims to identify the determinants of recruiting non-partisan ministers to coalition cabinets. Using a binary multi-level regression, we will model the effects of systemic variables (e.g., presidential competences), parliamentary-level variables (e.g., the fractionalization), party-level variables (e.g., the ideological orientation), and individual-level variables (e.g., political and professional experience) on the number of non-partisan ministers in new democracies. The sample consists of 14 Central and Eastern European countries. The observation period is from 1990 to 2012.