One of the defining features of a democratic state is the free competition for government power. In modern democracies that competition is centred on political parties. When citizens vote they do so mainly to determine which party’s or parties’ politicians will be able to enter government office. By and large, voters tend to be concerned more with the party affiliation of a particular government minister, rather than his or her individual qualities. In short, the long-term job security of any minister is determined by the fate of their party, not their individual (in-)competence. It is, therefore, important to understand how party politics interacts with how governments are formed.
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Robin T. Pettitt
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