Understanding the european parliament: the influence of institutional design on MEP behaviour and party group organisation

Natalie Mast

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] Over the last twenty-‐five years, the European Parliament (EP), in conjunction with the European Union, has undergone a rapid process of evolution leading to a significant increase in the EP's role within the Union's legislative process. In turn, the expectation of cohesive party behaviour from Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in plenary sessions have also increased. This thesis utilises an institutional approach to legislative behaviour in order to examine the influence that the EP’s design and operation has upon the behaviour of its members, and the organisation of its party groups. Ultimately, the thesis argues that EP party group leaders are inhibited by the institutional design of the Parliament, and until such time as they are provided with disciplinary powers equivalent to those utilised by party leaders in national legislatures, the ability of EP party group leaders to organise their members into cohesive voting blocs will be limited. The thesis is divided into eight chapters. The first chapter, which serves as a literature review, examines the influence that legislative design can have upon the development of a party system and the behaviour of members within a legislature. The second chapter charts the evolution of the European Parliament and its party groups, examining the ways in which the EP party groups have developed their own disciplinary systems. Chapter Three explores the influence that the electoral systems utilised in EP elections can have upon the behaviour of MEPs, as well as the limitations the EP electoral system places upon EP party group leaders searching for organisational tools to keep their members in check...
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2006


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