Balancing Competimg Demands: Position-Taking And Election Proximity In The European Parliament

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Executive Summary

Parties value unity, yet, members of parliament face competing demands, giving them incentives to deviate from the party. For Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), these competing demands are national party and European party group pressures. Here, the authors look at how MEPs respond to those competing demands. They examine ideological shifts within a single parliamentary term to assess how European Parliament (EP) election proximity affects party group cohesion. Their formal model of legislative behavior with multiple principals yields the following hypothesis: when EP elections are proximate, national party delegations shift toward national party positions, thus weakening EP party group cohesion.

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