Book Review: The Presidentialization of Political Parties

Book Review on Italian Political Science Review (by Luca Verzichelli)

leaders_inspire_1200x627This volume is an important contribution to the field of comparative political institutions because it focuses on the growing role of party leaders who assume a relevant institutional power in many advanced democracies.  The notion of “presidentialization” is at the core of the volume’s theoretical framework. However, in contrast to other pieces of empirical research emphasizing the impact of institutional changes on the development of party structures, the volume endeavors to explore the phenomenon of the increasing importance of party leadership independently from the evolution of the institutional setting. This is, as noted by the editor in the introduction, the “missing link” in the study of presidentialization. More precisely, Passarelli aims to explain the varying intensities of “party presidentialization” one can observe by comparing certain countries using a simplified framework built on two separate dimensions: institutional presidentialization and party genetic presidentialization.

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Building Blocs. How Parties Organize Society

Does society and its cleavages influence Parties, or rather the other way around? The book I have reviewed deals with this crucial research question in Political Sociology.

Building Blocs. How Parties Organize Society. Edited by Cedric de Leon, Manali Desai, and Cihan Tuǧal, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015. 242p. $24.95 cloth.

pid_24999The literature on political parties’ genesis and organization is well consolidated. Do exist brilliant books on comparative politics and in political sociology alike. On one side, the contributions of Max Weber, Stein Rokkan, Seymour Lipset and Hans Daalder have settled a clear perspective on the relevance of social cleavages and structures in shaping the born and the development of political parties, especially in western countries, and in Europe in particular. On the other side, the organizational perspective to analyze political parties is well robust alike. Since the seminal works of Moisey Ostrogorsky, Robert Michels, and then Maurice Duverger, David Epstein, Valdimer O. Key, Sigmund, Angelo Panebianco, Giovanni Sartori, Peter Mair, etc., the structure of political parties has been well analyzed. Do exist comparative researches that shed light on differences and similarities of different aspects of the political organizations, such as the leadership, the role of members and activists, and the funding.  Continua a leggere

The Presidentialization of Political Parties on LSE blog

Edited by Gianluca Passarelli, new collection The Presidentialization of Political Parties: Organizations, Institutions and Leaders, explores why the level of party presidentialisation varies between countries, arguing that this is linked to both constitutional design and the genetic features of political parties. Although he finds that some of the country case studies provide stronger evidence for the book’s central argument than others, Raul Aldaz appraises this book as a valuable contribution to the field that will be of particular use to scholars of comparative politics.

The headlines on US politics, currently covering caucus elections, are filled with names – Clinton, Cruz, Rubio, Sanders, Trump – and their personal positions on a handful of policy issues, but they direct less attention to their parties or the ideological standpoints that Democrats and Republicans (should?) convey. Is modern politics therefore becoming a more person-centred phenomenon rather than party- or ideology-focused? And if so, why?

Presidential Podium

The increasing importance given to specific politicians and/or presidential candidates is part of a broader trend that goes well beyond the US: what we might term ‘the presidentialization of politics’. Part of this phenomenon is ‘the presidentialization of political parties’, which refers to the increasing influence that presidents have on the behaviour and organisation of their parties. This new book, edited by Gianluca Passarelli, consists of a collection of country cases that provide an in-depth analysis of the extent of this presidentialisation of political parties and two possible explanations for its occurrence. Continua a leggere

Centre-left Prime Ministerial Primaries in Italy: the laboratory of the ‘open party’ model

CIP

The 2005 Prime Ministerial Primaries held by the coalition of the centre left were less important for their immediate outcome than they were important as crucial events for the institutionalization of primaries in the process of building the Democratic Party. Those held in 2012 were a second step in the same process. Since the two elections differed significantly and were both ‘exceptional’, we first propose a rational narrative of the political strategies leading up to each of them and of the political dynamics that followed. We also analyse indicators of the level of public interest in such a competition and the candidates’ abilities to mobilize support beyond the party’s traditional electoral constituency. Our central argument is that, since the centre-left Prime Ministerial Primaries achieved the strategic goals of some of their proponents, this particular type of primary should be less frequent in the future, at least on the left of the political spectrum. Even though they did so in very different ways, they both strengthened the project of creating the Democratic Party as an ‘open party’, whose leader is chosen by a broad base of electors in a primary-like competition and is the party’s natural candidate for the premiership (view the full paper).

THE PRESIDENTIALIZATION OF POLITICAL PARTIES

THE PRESIDENTIALIZATION OF POLTICAL PARTIES
My post on Presidential-power blog

PartiesPRESWhat actually makes a president of the Republic a leader in (semi-)presidential regimes? And when, if ever, is it possible that a party leader, once he or she has become the head of government in a parliamentary regime, can come close to the style of leadership in similar cases in which the separation of powers exists? If the institutions influence the behavior of politicians, and thus of the parties, it is necessary to understand and explain if and in what way it is possible to refer to ‘presidentialized’ party organizations outside of the institutional context that defines its characteristics: the presidential regime.

The presidentialization of politics is a relatively new and important phenomenon. However, the term presidentialization has become highly debatable. In particular, the more contentious side is offered by the suggestion that presidentialization of politics could make (semi) presidential regimes and parliamentary ones more similar to presidentialism. Continua a leggere