I would like to thank Taavi Annus, Brian Crisp, Joshua Potter, Guillermo Rosas, and the anonymous reviewers for valuable comments on this manuscript. I am also grateful to Santiago Olivella for expert research assistance, to Magdalena Drabik, Tomas Lacina, Michal Pawlak, Jan Prouza, Aleksandra Sabik, Agnes Simon, and Eszter Simon for help with data collection, and to Zsolt Enyedi, Sylwia Gołaszewska, Pavel Kuklik, Natalia Letki, Jan Outly, and Vaclav Sklenar for help in locating and accessing data. Support for this research was provided by the Weidenbaum Center at Washington University in St. Louis. Data for replication purposes will be posted at tavits.wustl.edu on publication.
Power within Parties: The Strength of the Local Party and MP Independence in Postcommunist Europe
Article first published online: 7 JUN 2011
©2011, Midwest Political Science Association
American Journal of Political Science
Volume 55, Issue 4, pages 923–936, October 2011
How to Cite
Tavits, M. (2011), Power within Parties: The Strength of the Local Party and MP Independence in Postcommunist Europe. American Journal of Political Science, 55: 923–936. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2011.00520.x
- Issue published online: 12 OCT 2011
- Article first published online: 7 JUN 2011
This study argues that organizationally stronger local party branches are more powerful within the party than organizationally weaker branches: they can better perform the tasks central to the party, which include communication with, and mobilization of, voters. I further argue that this subunit power should be manifested in the parliamentary behavior and status of MPs: those from districts where the local party organization is strong are more likely (1) to behave independently in parliament and break party unity and (2) to hold leadership positions in parliamentary committees. I find support for these propositions in the analysis of 12 legislatures from four postcommunist democracies—Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, and Poland. The results remain robust against various alternative explanations.