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Parties in Parliament: The Blurring of Opposition

Abstract

The existence and activity of Political Opposition is indispensable in democratic systems of government. This chapter argues that the vital democratic functions of opposition (informing the voters and providing an alternative) are confined to the electoral arena. In the parliamentary arena, however, the distinction between government and opposition is blurred when opposition parties support the government, when governing parties oppose the government, when opposition parties provide structural support to a minority government, and when the government anticipates an opposition majority in another institution of government. As long as this blurring of opposition in the parliamentary arena goes unnoticed by the voters, opposition parties may still fulfill their democratic duties in the electoral arena, albeit in a hypocritical way. However, in recent years, government and opposition are growing so indistinct in the parliamentary arena that increasingly voters may find that they are no longer offered a meaningful choice within the system.

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Correspondence to Rudy B. Andeweg .

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Andeweg, R.B. (2013). Parties in Parliament: The Blurring of Opposition. In: Müller, W., Narud, H. (eds) Party Governance and Party Democracy. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6588-1_6

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