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Political Research Exchange - PRX

Cartelisation in the EP Party Group System: An Analytical Narrative

European Politics
 
European Union
 
Parliaments
 
Representation
 
Party Members
 
European Parliament
 
Presenter
Aaron Martin
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – LMU
Authors
Aaron Martin
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – LMU

Abstract
In this paper I use the analytical narrative approach to explain how decisions made at critical moments by strategic actors within the European Parliament (EP) led to the emergence of a cartelized party group system. According to this interpretation, the origin of the EP’s inability to effectively represent all European constituencies predates the contemporary debt, migration, and legitimation crises. Indeed, establishing a party system on the dual behaviors of collusion and exclusion makes it nearly impossible for non-cartel members to either influence legislation or to represent the views of their voters. I present two, original empirical analyses. The first focuses on collusion and analyzes every roll call vote in the EP, 1979-2009, to construct an Agreement Index for the cartel and non-cartel blocs. The second observes the under-representation and exclusion of non-cartel members in terms of report assignments. The goal of this paper, therefore, is to identify the endogenous inflection points which precipitated the consolidation of a two-tiered party group system and the deliberate behaviors responsible for reproducing this asymmetry into the future. The implications of these findings are directly applicable to any discussion of the EP’s role as a legitimating body or a representative assembly.
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