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Power within Parties: The Strength of the Local Party and MP Independence in Postcommunist Europe

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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.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Washington University in St. Louis

Publication date: October 1, 2011

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