Cohesion and defections in the European parliament : the effect of cross-pressure
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The study on voting cohesion in the European Parliament seems to be heavily influenced by scholars like Noury and Roland, that argues for a very high voting cohesion in the European Parliament (e.g. Noury and Roland 2002). This view is balanced by those who argues that there is a bias in the data that are being used to determine this high level of voting cohesion (e.g. Carruba and Gabel 1999). There are some that argues that the co-decision procedure leads to a higher interest by the national parties on how their representatives in the European Parliament votes (e.g. Carruba and Gabel in Scully 2001). The more power the European Parliament possess, the more incentives would both the national party and the transnational party group have on the vote, which means that the part that holds the most power over the Member of the European Parliament (MEP), will sway this voice in their favour. By studying four cases where the co-decision was used, I found that the defections from the party group were generally high, but not conclusive, due to the limited amount of cases. In an effort to compensate for the few cases I studied cases of investiture one procedure, a directive and two regulations, which included both regulatory and distributive policy areas. I used four variables which I hoped could explain the defections and remain consistent, which included the Governmental status of the national party, the Electoral System, the Policy Area of the Proposal and Political Role and Preferences. The existing literature combined with my results suggests that there are a connection, but the problem with the data material however caused this analysis to be incomplete and the results I found were ambiguous, largely due to this problem. The data on the current members of the European Parliament does however seem to be more detailed and an analysis of legislation from the 6th parliamentary term might be more conclusive. If suggestions by Noury and Roland (2002) are introduced, regarding increased use of co-decision and Roll Call Votes, combined with Hix and Hagemann's (2009) suggestions regarding independence of the MEPs and “European Issues”, we might be able to analyse the votes without bias and conclude with high voting cohesion.
Masteroppgave i offentlig politikk og ledelse- Universitetet i Agder 2009