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  • Political Parties and democracy in theoretical and Practical PersPectives

    Parliamentary GrouPs

    norm Kelly and sefakor ashiagbor

    national democratic institute

  • Political Parties and democracy in theoretical and Practical PersPectives

    Parliamentary GrouPs

    norm Kelly and sefakor ashiagbor

    national democratic institute

  • The national democratic institute (ndi) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization that responds to the aspirations of people around the world to live in democratic societies that recognize and promote basic human rights.

    since its founding in 1983, ndi and its local partners have worked to support and strengthen democratic institutions and practices by strengthening political parties, civic organizations and parliaments, safeguarding elections, and promoting citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.

    With staff members and volunteer political practitioners from more than 100 nations, ndi brings together individuals and groups to share ideas, knowledge, experiences and expertise. Partners receive broad exposure to best practices in international democratic development that can be adapted to the needs of their own countries. ndi’s multinational approach reinforces the message that while there is no single democratic model, certain core principles are shared by all democracies.

    The institute’s work upholds the principles enshrined in the universal declaration of human rights. it also promotes the development of institutionalized channels of communications among citizens, political institutions and elected officials, and strengthens their ability to improve the quality of life for all citizens. For more information about ndi, please visit www.ndi.org.

    copyright © national democratic institute (ndi) 2011. all rights reserved. Portions of this work may be reproduced and/or translated for noncommercial purposes provided ndi is acknowledged as the source of the material and is sent copies of any translation. Printed in the united states of america.

    455 massachusetts ave, nW 8th Floor Washington, dc 20001 telephone: 202-728-5500 Fax: 888-875-2887

    This printing of this publication was made possible through the support provided by the office of democracy and Governance, Bureau for democracy, conflict and humanitarian assistance, u.s. agency for international development, under the terms of award no. dFd-a-00-08-00350-00. The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the u.s. agency for international development.

    isBn: 978-1-880134-38-2

  • Political Parties and democracy in theoretical and Practical PersPectives

    The national democratic institute (ndi or the institute) is indebted to all the individuals who helped to bring this document to fruition. in particular, the institute is grateful to those who shared their personal experiences as members of parliamentary groups; this paper would not have been possible without their support. ndi thanks the following for their comments on draft versions of this publication: meg munn, member of Parliament for sheffield heeley, uK labour Party; nora owen, Former deputy leader, Fine Gael, republic of ireland; Judy van rest, executive vice President, international republican institute; and angela Wilkins. in addition, ndi staff members Francesca Binda, matyas eorsi and lisa mclean provided invaluable insights. elvis Zutic developed the draft caucus rules included in appendix 2. The institute’s staff on regional teams in Washington d.c. and in the field contributed research on parliamentary group practices in: Bangladesh; Benin; Bosnia and herzegovina; Bulgaria; cambodia; colombia; indonesia; iraq; Kosovo; mali; montenegro; morocco; nigeria; Pakistan; Peru; serbia; south africa; uganda; and yemen. in addition, the following current and former ndi staff made various contributions to the paper: nicholas Benson, sophie Fry, Zachary Goldstein, meredith Katz, and Zach Pusch. The institute would also like to acknowledge ian delmonte for his work on the design and layout of this paper.

    Through research into such issues as party law, candidate selection and party finance, ndi provides comparative information on various aspects of party politics, shedding light on obstacles to, and possible approaches for creating more effective and inclusive parties. drawing from academic analyses as well as practical party experiences, the institute’s Political Parties and Democracy in Theoretical and Practical Perspectives series examines topics central to the role and function of political parties. The series includes:

    Parliamentary Groups dr. norm Kelly, centre for democratic institutions and sefakor ashiagbor, national democratic institute

    Selecting Candidates for Legislative Office sefakor ashiagbor, national democratic institute

    Adopting Party Law dr. Kenneth Janda, northwestern university

    Political Finance Policy, Parties and Democratic Development dr. michael Johnston, colgate university

    Developments in Party Communications dr. Pippa norris, John F. Kennedy school of Government, harvard university

    Implementing Intra-Party Democracy dr. susan scarrow, university of houston

    For more information on ndi’s political party programs or to obtain electronic copies of these publications, please visit the institute’s website at www.ndi.org.

  • taBle oF contents

    Preface. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

    about the authors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

    introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

    representation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

    rules influence Behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 electoral systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

    Parliamentary rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

    anti-defection measures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

    Parliamentary Groups and their Parties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 coordination, reporting and accountability mechanisms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

    Policy development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

    caucus rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21

    leadership selection. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22

    Whips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23

    division of labor in Parliamentary Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

    caucus meetings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26

    individual Freedom versus Party cohesion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27

    discipline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31

    conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33

    appendices. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 appendix 1: extracts from Benchmarks for democratic legislatures. . . . . . . . . .35

    appendix 2: sample caucus rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40

    endnotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47

    Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51

  • list of Figures 1. Pre-selection to the legislature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

    2. the dynamics of electoral and Parliamentary rule-making . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

    list of textboxes 1. affirmative action in the australian labor Party . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

    2. examples of Political engineering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

    3. do voters Primarily identify With Parties or With individual candidates? . . . . 7

    4. the united Kingdom’s all-Party Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

    5. Women’s interests and regional caucuses – autonomous region of Bougainville . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

    6. Papua new Guinea’s oliPPac law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17

    7. Whips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

    list of tables 1. the importance of Party affiliation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

    2. the number of Parliamentary Parties in ndi-surveyed countries . . . . . . . . .11

    3. thresholds for Parliamentary Group status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

    4. Parliamentary Group and individual member Procedural rights in colombia . .14

    5. Freedom to exercise a ‘conscience’

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