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John Carey and Andrew Reynold, "Parties and Accountable Government in New Democracies," Party Politics, 13 (March 2007), 255-274.

Second paragraph:
his article examines some factors that affect whether parties in new democracies deliver on the promise of accountable government. We focus on parties in legislative assemblies for a couple of reasons. First, assemblies are the central representative institutions in all democracies. Chief executives may or may not be popularly elected. Where they are not, they are generally selected from within the assembly, and even where they are, major policy decisions must still be approved by assemblies. Second, assemblies are the 'natural habitat' of parties in government because they are plural bodies. In most democratic assemblies, most decisions are made by majority rule, and those that are not generally require super majorities, so decisiveness within assemblies requires collective action among large numbers of politicians. Party organizations are the near-universal means of coordinating such action in assemblies. Virtually all modern democratic legislatures are organized along party lines, meaning that party units are accorded rights over legislative resources, including representation on the organ that controls the legislative agenda, as well as whatever offices and staff are available.

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1a. Elite concern about national party leader opinions
Figure 1b. Elite concern about district opinions
Figure 1c. Should national party have more power over legislature?
Figure 2. Box plot of weighted Rice indices by regime type and intra-party electoral competition.
Table 1. Mean share of legislative votes won for government and opposition parties in systems with and without popularly elected presidents
Table 2. Hypothesized discipline and program coherence in governing parties in new democracies

Last Paragraph:
To put our central argument in its bluntest terms, parties may be strong internally but be vacuous and fickle when it comes to policy content. When this is the case, parties fail to deliver programs that respond to citizen preferences in the manner depicted by the strong party ideal, and do not advance the cause of accountable government. This is not to suggest that political parties are unimportant in the establishment and consolidation of new democracies, but rather to highlight that the strong party normative ideal prevalent in much academic work rooted in the experience of developed democracies is frequently inapplicable to how parties in new democracies operate. In particular, in the absence of programmatic consistency at the collective level, citizens and political reformers frequently demand an alternative,individualistic brand of accountability. Individualistic accountability does not hold out the immediate promise of collective goods based government,as does the strong party ideal, but it does offer the opportunity to punish specific transgressions of trust and abuses of power, perhaps minimizing the potential for predatory behavior by elected representatives,perhaps until the electoral value of reliable party labels can accrue over time.

last updated February 2007