Abstracts 2/2006 englisch

Waldhoff, Christian: The misunderstood mandate. Constitutional law norms for the standardization of expanded publication duties for members of the German Bundestag.
The modifications of the law of the Members of Parliament and of the ethics code for MPs now require the notification and publication of additional income and outside employment. These sanctioned duties have an impact on the constitutionally protected status of the free mandate and the basic rights of MPs. They are criticized because they lead to too much “lawification” of the status of MPs. Instead of control mechanisms and self-healing effects of the political process, administrative sanctions are favored by the new modifications of law. This slowly but surely is turning the mandate to a public employment status. [ZParl, vol. 37., no. 2, pp. 251 ff.]

Muhle, Stefan: Should there be more transparency about the outside employment of members of parliament? On the further development of the ethics code for MPs in Lower Saxony.
Recently, the necessity to enhance transparency in matters of MP’s sidelines was not only debated in Lower Saxony. Yet it was there the debate was triggerd by the “VW Affair”, Lower Saxony being the headquarters of Volkswagen. In the wake of the affair the Speaker of the Lower Saxony state parliament filed suit in the administrative court of Braunschweig. In its course it has become clear that amendments to Lower Saxony’s law of MP’s are imperative. In order to achieve an agreement of all parliamentary party groups in the Landtag (state parliament) as wide as possible, a subcommittee was established as of January, 27, 2005. This committee is exclusively concerned with the further development of the law of MPs and of their rules of conduct. The achievements of the Lower Saxony Parliament and its subcommittee will contribute to a standardization of the rules of conduct for members of all German parliaments. [ZParl, vol. 37., no. 2, pp. 266 ff.]

Biehl, Heiko: How well are parties anchored in society? On party membership and members’ social origin.
Most party researchers assume that today’s political parties in Germany only have loose ties to their social origins. Results of the Potsdam Party Member Project (Potsdamer Parteimitgliederprojekt), however, amend and correct this view in central aspects: Firstly, although the memberships’ profiles of all political parties show similar occupational structures, they still differ strongly regarding the predominant religious affiliations of their members. Secondly, party members are enrolled in with different community or political organizations (Vorfeldorganisationen) like trade unions, trade associations, citizen’s groups, volunteer fire departments. Thirdly, if they exist, traditional milieus continue to heavily influence party affiliations. Like before, members of the typical traditional milieus continue to be organized in “their” specific parties. Parties remain affiliated with their respective social groups in distinctive ways – despite the fact that the professional backgrounds of their members have become more similar. Today, party members are bond to their milieus less by their occupational position than by their membership in linkage organizations. [ZParl, vol. 37., no. 2, pp. 277 ff.]

Höpner, Martin: Corporate contributions to party finances: Who donates money to whom? And why?
In Germany – different from France and the USA – direct party finance provided by corporate bodies is legal. In order to predict both the willingness to donate and the specific distribution of the money among the political camps, a model is developed that takes the structural characteristics of companies as starting point. The model is based on data of the contributions of the 100 largest German companies in the election year 2002. According to this, contributions and their distribution depend largely on the presence of interlocking directorates and on the industry a company belongs to. In the year 2002, the 100 largest companies gave 55.8 percent of their contributions to CDU and CSU, 22.1 percent to the SPD, 17.7 percent to the FDP and 4.4 percent to the Greens. The PDS did not receive any contributions from the 100 largest companies. Two logics of party finance can be distinguished in this context: first, the systematic support for only one of the political camps in order to strengthen it; second, encompassing contributions cultivating all fields of the political landscape. [ZParl, vol. 37., no. 2, pp. 293 ff.]

Koß, Michael and Dan Hough: Parties on the German Länder level in comparative perspective: the party of the Left.PDS between government responsibility and opposition.
The increasing regionalization of the German party system raises the question to what extent branches of the same party differ on the state level. A closer look at the predominant aims of the parties on the Länder level, such as the will to participate in government, to maximize vote shares and to realize specific programmatic aims reveals such differences. In comparing the behavior of two governing and two opposition PDS (Party of Democratic Socialism) parties one finds the following: while the party branch in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania governs in order to try and implement specific program-related goals, the Berlin branch is more of a genuine office-seeker. The branches in Brandenburg and Saxony, where the PDS is in opposition, have changed their party goals considerably over time: the former has moved away from stressing policy-orientated goals to a more overt vote-maximization strategy whereas the latter has taken the exact reverse way. All in all, internal factors seem to influence the predominant aims of a Land branch to a higher degree than external factors. [ZParl, vol. 37., no. 2, pp. 312 ff.]

Poguntke, Thomas and Christiane Pütz: Parties in the European Union. On the developmental potential of Europarties.
The supranational logic within the political process of the EU has been strengthened considerably through a series of institutional reforms since the early 1990s. Steps towards increased majority voting in the Council and, particularly, the increased powers of the European Parliament have been especially important in this process. As a result, the scope for activities of the Europarties, which have emerged from more loosely organized transnational party federations, has expanded. The development potentials and restrictions of these parties vary: while their potentials concerning mobilization and integration are rather limited (due to the fact that national parties are very active here), their potentials and restrictions in interest articulation and aggregation are balanced. In elite recruitment, national parties will remain predominant. However, new coordination tasks might emerge for Europarties in recruitment matters and in the shaping of policies. In general, the potential of the “parties on the European level” to develop further lies less in the transfer than in the extension of tasks. [ZParl, vol. 37., no. 2, pp. 334 ff.]

Schmitz, Karsten: Electoral and party systems in Eastern Europe: A reappraisal based on the concentration effect.
The “laws” postulated by Maurice Duverger and Giovanni Sartori on the connection of electoral and party systems can be tested by looking at the young democracies in post-communist Eastern Europe. Their electoral systems are categorized by type as well as by the predicted strength of the concentration effect. It emerges that in countries with less structured party systems the concentration effect is stronger with proportional representation systems employing national election thresholds than with majority voting systems in single member districts. Such unstable party systems are common among countries in Eastern Europe. While Duverger’s laws are too simplistic to account for the situation in these countries, Sartori’s theory is more applicable due to its emphasis on party structures. However, the latter also falls short because the effects of national election thresholds are neglected. This neglect might be explained by the fact that most authors have been influenced in their thinking by the presence of relatively stable party systems in Western countries. [ZParl, vol. 37., no. 2, pp. 353 ff.]

Birsl, Ursula: Path change: From German federalism to transnational neo-regionalism.
The suggestions for a reform of federalism that have been brokered between CDU, CSU and SPD in the coalition agreement appear to confirm that political and bureaucratic actors are not sufficiently willing to reform the state order and to break up political interconnections. However, the question is whether this is simply a matter of unwillingness or if the paradigm of state order has become so blurred that there is more at stake than ‘only’ restructuring a federal system. Some arguments suggest that the government system is already ‘de-federalizing’ due to the historical-institutional development and that Germany has changed to a unitarian centralized state. Empirical evidence from comparative federalism research backs this assumption. Concurrently a new political level is established that can be called ‘neo-regionalism’. This phenomenon cannot be clearly grasped yet. However, it puts pressure on the German Länder and could trigger re-federalization. Furthermore in most cases, it lacks a democratic public and legitimacy. [ZParl, vol. 37., no. 2, pp. 353 ff.]

Leunig, Sven: „AB(C)“ or „ROM“? On operationalizing majorities in the German Bundesrat.
The answer on the question whether divided government in Bundestag and Bundesrat is present or not depends significantly on the arithmetic application used and its operationalization. Research on German federalism currently uses two models for describing the partisan majority in the Bundesrat: „AB(C)“ and „ROM“. Their use leads to substantially different conclusions on how dependent the federal government is on those Länder governments partially consisting of parties which are in opposition to the federal level. Both models comprise basic deficits. In contrast, a „modified ROM-model“ could represent the partisan majority arithmetic in the Bundesrat in the most realistic way. [ZParl, vol. 37., no. 2, pp. 402 ff.]

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