The Party Politics of Legislative-Executive Relations in Security and Defence Policy

Wolfgang Wagner*, A. Herranz-Surrallés, Juliet Kaarbo, Falk Ostermann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

62 Citations (Web of Science)


The move from territorial defence to ‘wars of choice’ has influenced the domestic politics of military interventions. This paper examines the extent to which both the substance and the procedure of military interventions are contested among political parties. Regarding the substance, our analysis of Chapel Hill Expert Survey data demonstrates that across European states political parties on the right are more supportive of military missions than those on the left. On the decision-making procedures, our case studies of Germany, France, Spain and the United Kingdom show that political parties on the left tend to favour strong parliamentary control whereas those on the right tend to prefer an unconstrained executive, although with differences across countries. These findings challenge the view that ‘politics stops at the water’s edge’ and contribute to a better understanding of how political parties and parliaments influence military interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-41
Number of pages22
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


  • Parliament
  • legislative-executive relations
  • military missions
  • political parties
  • VOTE
  • NO

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