1997 年 12 巻 p. 4-15,295
No one could deny the significance of election in modern democracy. Parliamentary elections take a winning party or a winning coalition of parties to power. As Giovanni Sartori says, party government usually understood means that the party governs, that the governing function is actually seized and monopolized by the winning party or by a coalition of parties. But the adverb actually is misleading because to be nominally in charge of government and policy-making is insufficient to be the de facto policy-maker. The question of whether the party in office resides as master, prisoner, agent, or spectator still remaine to be answered. This paper is a theoretical attempt to answer the question of how election and party government matters in policy-making process.
First, this paper argues about the influence of representative organizations in policy-making process. A parliamentary institution has many rules of legislative game, and reduces the leeway of the ruling party. The behavior of parliamentary members cannot be predicted completely according to the result of an election; Some tend to take the will and demand of their constituency into serious consideration; Some regard their own opinions or decisions by their parties as more important.
Then come questions about the policy-making ability of a party. The grip of a winning party on policy-making process depends on the extent of how policies are specified and program-oriented, the number of party members assignable to key governmental positions, and many other factors. Bureaucrats and interest groups may overshadow the ruling party.
Any election does not dominate the following policy-making process completely. More attention should be paid to the relationship between election and policy outcome. The recent work of the European Consortium for Political Research provides us with a great possiblity of examining this relationship empirically.