Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: August 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9780857021083 | Print ISBN: 9781412919760 | Online ISBN: 9780857021083| Publisher:SAGE Publications LtdAbout this handbook
Chapter 12: Government Formation
Wolfgang C. Müller
Government formation According to Schumpeter's (1942) ‘realistic’ theory of democracy, competition for government office is at the heart of modern democracy. Because governments are the central actors in most political systems politically ambitious individuals aim at government office and government participation is also a central goal for most political parties. In democracies such competition for government office ultimately is tied to elections. Either the people elect the government directly or their elected agents do so, or the government is appointed by the head of state but responsible to a parliament resulting from general elections. In the first case – in presidential systems – only the chief executive (and possible a vice-president as part of a ‘package’) is directly elected. Government formation is nevertheless an interesting process that is worthwhile studying as appointments can indicate a more or less partisan policy and can indicate the relative weight of the various tendencies ...