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Bloc Politics vs. Broad Cooperation? the functioning of Danish minority parliamentarism†

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Many scholars have found the working of Danish parliamentarism puzzling. It seems to be a peculiar mixture of cooperation and conflict. Based on an analysis of both the causes and consequences of bloc politics – or the lack of it – in Denmark from 1973 to 2003, this article argues that bloc politics is the precondition of the cooperation that many scholars have stressed as a description of both Danish – and more generally Scandinavian – parliamentarism. When a minority government, which is the prevalent form of government in Denmark, can rely on a bloc majority it deprives the part of the opposition wanting another government of veto power leading to broad cooperation and effective minority governments. When turbulence in the party systems has precluded a stable bloc majority behind the government, minority governments face a veto player wanting another government leading to government instability and ineffective minority governments.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Political Science, University of Aarhus, Denmark

Publication date: 2005-03-01

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