Overview

We include elections and cabinets in established democracies. More specifically, we include all democratic national lower house elections and EP elections for all EU and most OECD members. For the latter, we exclude presidential systems. We record all elections and succeeding cabinets after 1945 or after full democratization according to Boix ea. (2013).

We have started to include elections and cabinets before 1945. We record information after 1900 or after the last democratic transition (Boix ea. 2013). As of today, these observations are experimental and may be incomplete.


Parties

Coding rules

We include parties winning more than 1.0% vote share in elections we cover

Minor additions

  • winning 2 seats in an election (eg. member of an electoral alliance)
  • electoral alliances with at least 2 election results
  • party groups that form in parliament
    • more than 5.0% seat share (eg. ITA FLI)
    • forming in two parliamentary terms (eg. FRA GDR)
    • members of cabinet
    • providing minority support to a cabinet
  • less than 1.0% vote share
    • winning 1 seat in 2 elections
    • 2 election results as largest party no seats (first loser)
  • special categories: 'no-seat' and 'one-seat' (see election)

We avoid including minor parties or candidates that win a seat only in one election due to low threshold requirements.

Party change

recoding to be finished

New parties are recorded in 'party_change' and 'party_name_change'.

Mergers and party divisions are only added as a new party if the (largest) predecessor party won less than 75% of the combined vote of all preceding parties in the last election. Otherwise the largest party is just renamed.

Details

  • Splits and re-mergers are recorded in the original party (eg. JPN DP)

Party names

Party names are sentence case if no national (language) convention requires title case

  • eg. party names for Germany are title case (German and English)

Party names and delimiters · recoding to be finished

  • '–' different languages
  • '/' ('+') alliances
  • '|' generic names

Year added to smaller party name if identical names exist in a country (eg. SZ-92; Green Party -- 1992; Strana zelených – 1992)

Party positions

We provide aggregated party positions in four major dimensions. These positions are time-invariant unweighted mean values of information from party expert surveys on a 0 to 10 scale. All expert surveys are linked with ids from the 'party' table and original values are rescaled before calculating the mean

Missing party positions for each dimension are imputed by mean values for the respective party family. We distinguish mean and imputed values by the number of decimal places. Mean values based on external datasets have five decimal places and imputed values have one decimal place only.

Variables and sources

  • left/right — Castles/Mair 1983 (left/right), Huber/Inglehart 1995 (left/right), Benoit/Laver 2006 – (left/right), CHES 2010 (lrgen 1999 and 2002 and 2006)
  • state/market — Benoit/Laver 2006 (taxes/spending), CHES 2010 (lrecon 1999 and 2002 and 2006)
  • liberty/authority — Benoit/Laver 2006 (social), CHES 2010 (galtan 1999 and 2002 and 2006)
  • EU anti/pro — Ray 1999 (pos96), Benoit/Laver 2006 (euauthority or eulargerstronger or eujoining), CHES 2010 (position 1999 and 2002 and 2006)

Elections

Coding rules

We include election results for

  1. all parties that won 1.0% vote share
  2. all parties that won 2 seats (esp. alliance members)

Details

  • a party that won less than 1.0% vote share and 1 seat
    • several election results — included into the list of ParlGov parties
    • single election result — recorded as a 'one-seat' party (eg. Poland)
  • a party that won less than 1.0% vote share but was the largest party that won no seat (first loser)
    • several election results — included into the list of ParlGov parties
    • single election result — recorded as a 'no-seat' party (eg. Austria)
  • electoral alliances
    • electoral alliances are recorded by linking election results (variable 'alliance_id ') of alliance members to an alliance or the strongest party in an electoral alliance
      • each electoral alliance or alliance member recorded as an individual party should include 2 elections, if feasible
      • alliances of parties that are part of a broader alliance are recorded with a 'data_json' ['alliance_alliance_id'] entry (eg. Italy 1996)
    • votes are coded at the level of electoral results for all alliance members [recoding to be finished]
    • seats are coded at the level of the initial parliament composition of all alliance members [recoding to be finished]
      • seats of members in an electoral alliance that also forms a parliamentary group are recorded with a json entry (eg. {“seats”: 1}’)
      • seats of an alliance that forms a parliamentary group with members running independently are recorded for alliance members and with a 'parliament_change' (eg. Germany CDU/CSU)
      • seats of alliance members are recorded if no information about the parliamentary party group status is available
      • a 'data_json' key 'seats_alliance' is added to the alliance to check data consistency
      • a 'one seat' party which is part of an electoral alliance is coded as an alliance member (eg. Hungary 2014)
  • 'others'
    • only number of seats recorded

Earlier versions of ParlGov included only parties with seats in parliament and updating all countries to the 1.0% vote share rule was completed in December 2014.

Data sources

National elections

Main sources

  • official data source – national statistical office – see country notes
  • Nohlen — Elections: A Data Handbook – various volumes of elections around the world
  • Mackie/Rose (1945–1990) — only Western democracies
  • Essex elections data on Post-Communist Europe (1990–200x)
  • EJPR Political Data Yearbook (1990–today)
  • CEVIPOL Electoral results — Europe and Latin-America

Others

  • Parline
  • Rokkan/Meyriat (1920–1965) — only Western democracies
  • Rose/Munro (1990–2001) — Post-Communist Europe

European parliament elections

Sorted by preference for coding selection

  1. official data source – national statistical office
  2. European Parliament (EP) election report (esp. 1979–1999) — based on official statistics
  3. EJPR yearbook (1990–today)

Cabinets

Cabinet definition

We record a new cabinet for these events (cf. Budge/Keman 1993: 10)

  1. any change of parties with cabinet membership
  2. any change of the prime minister
  3. any general election

All parties with ministers in cabinet are included (Indridason/Bowler 2014: 396)

  1. right to attend cabinet meetings
  2. right to cast vote before cabinet (if applicable)

Details

  • three month constraint
    • a continuation (caretaker) cabinet (subset of previous coalition, no new party) is coded once for any change lasting longer than three months
  • any meaningful investiture procedure defines a new cabinet (eg. TUR Ciller II)
  • any meaningful resignation defines a new cabinet
  • cabinet parties not included
    • ministers without portfolio, interim or junior ministers
    • cabinet members without party affiliation (party family 'none') are only coded if the prime minister has no party affiliation
    • parties supporting a (minority) cabinet are included in table 'cabinet support' — if information available
  • country specific
    • Switzerland: changes in the identity of the President of the Swiss Confederation (Bundespräsident) do not define a new cabinet (cf. Kriesi/Trechsel 2008, 75-76)

Examples

  • three month constraint
    • POL Kaczynski (2006) — coded as one cabinet
      • SRP withdraws from cabinet on 22 September 2006 (party composition change) and re-enters on 16 October
      • SRP and LPR dismissal on 13 August 2007 (party composition change) — elections take place on 19 October 2007 (within three months)
    • BEL Leterme III (2010) — coded as one cabinet (three month constraint)
      • Previous coalition collapses on 26 April 2010 (party composition change) — new elections on 13 June. Pre-election caretaker cabinets lasts for less and post-election cabinet for more than three months.
    • 'data_json' entry 'three_month_rule' in 'cabinet' table lists cabinets were the rule is applied to add (or not to add) a caretaker cabinet (experimental version)
    • further examples: AUT Gorbach II (1962), GDR Maizere (1990), NLD Balkenende V (2010)
  • PM appointment without cabinet appointment — Andreotti I and Pawlak I
  • party formation and dissolution — AUT Schuessel III (2003) [json: 'party_split'], IRL Cowen (2008), ROU Boc III (2010)

Damgaard (1994: 194-95) and Müller/Strom (2000: 12) provide a more comprehensive discussion of cabinet definitions.

Caretaker

Cabinets with a limited legislative mandate (cf. McDonnell/Valbruzzi 2014)

  • non-partisan: cabinet members without partisan affiliation
  • provisional: appointed post-transition cabinet
  • technical: institutional reasons
  • continuation (tree month rule): cabinet continuing in office — see above

Cabinet type

Government status (minority, minimum winning or surplus majority) is determined only by the seat share of government parties in parliament and not coded manually. Currently, the script does not take into account any changes in the composition of parliament during the legislative term.

If there is an electoral alliance with separate seat shares but one of the parties is not a cabinet member, the government will be treated as a minority government (eg. UK 1951). Similarly, if any of the governing parties can be removed and the other governing parties still hold a majority in parliament, the cabinet is considered to be a surplus majority cabinet.

Cabinet termination

Experimental version only — coding has yet to be completed

Coding rule: The same events that define a new government are used to define the termination date of a government. Cabinets may remain in office for a short period after the initial terminal event. The 'description' field should give a short description of events other than an election that led to the fall of a government and these events should be coded in the 'data_json' field.

Presidents

We include all party-affiliated heads of state. Short-term acting presidents are not included.

Data sources

For new cabinets and revisions of observations, we derive information about cabinet termination from news sources, preferably from the news agencies Reuters, AFP or the main national news agency

For West European countries we double checked our initial observations with the data in Müller/Strom (2000). For Central- and Eastern European countries we compared our information to Müller-Rommel ea. (2008).

  • EJPR yearbook (1990–today) — www.politicaldatayearbook.com
  • European Representative Democracy Data Archive — www.erdda.se
  • Müller/Strom (2000) — governments in Western Europe (1945–2000)
  • Müller-Rommel ea. (2008) and Conrad/Golder (2010) — governments in Central/Eastern Europe (1990—2009)
  • Flora (1983) — inter-war governments
  • Wikipedia