Issue Congruence across Legislative Terms: Examining the Democratic Party Mandate in the European Parliament

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Abstract

Much of the empowerment of the European Parliament over the years is due to its special role in providing a bridge connecting the public's policy preferences on the one hand, and the legislative behaviour of elected officials on the other. As the only popularly elected EU institution, successive treaty reforms increased the EP's political power. These reforms were accompanied by an explicit desire to see citizens' involvement in EU politics increase and, in turn, provide support and legitimacy to the European integration project. This paper models MEPs' track records on various political issues, and assesses the extent to which their output is in line with the positions their party campaigned on and the policy preferences expressed in public opinion. The findings suggest that there are discrete patterns of representation, where some parties are more inclined toward greater congruence with their selectorate and manifesto than others. Furthermore, the degree of congruence varies across policy issues and is shaped, to a large extent, by institutional arrangements and political context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1292-1308
JournalWest European Politics
Volume36
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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