Cabinets in Western Europe by Jean Blondel, Ferdinand Müller-Rommel

By Jean Blondel, Ferdinand Müller-Rommel

A fully-updated moment version of the presentation of the constitution and workings of the nationwide cupboards in Western eu international locations at the present time. This e-book is predicated on a typical framework which permits the reader to match the origins, constitution, composition and actions of those cupboards and to attract classes from this comparability. Emphasis is put on the management and at the personality of coalitions. whilst West ecu ministers are operating ever extra heavily jointly, a data of the lifetime of nationwide cupboards is essential as is an figuring out of the diversities among forms of cupboard decision-making within the context of the reforms proposed of Western eu governments.

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The personal and final responsibility of the minister is in every instance stressed' (PSORG, 1969, 61). Typically, each member of the government is responsible for a single department or a small group of cognate departments. In recent years the number, titles and functions of departments have been altered and amalgamated more frequently. The principal act and its amendments also provide for the appointment of parliamentarians as junior ministers. Initially, the number of these 'Parliamentary Secretaries' was limited to seven; the maximum has now been increased to fifteen and the title changed to 'Minister of State'.

They provide opportunities for politicians to exhibit their capacity and to enlarge their personal constituencies. Although outstanding electoral performance may have some influence on ministerial selection, it is not a primary consideration. The party at large has virtually no role in cabinet composition and decision-making. Similarly, the parliamentary party, like the Dail itself, has little more than a ceremonial role. Tight discipline ensures that deputies support their party: governments, once elected, can largely ignore their backbenchers; electoral circumstances reinforce the limited role of the Dail deputy (Farrell, 1985a).

The way of weighing up the cabinet's view varies. On many issues only a few ministers make a contribution; in these instances the Prime Minister may attempt to indicate the trend of the views expressed. Where issues involve wider discussion, one technique is to 'collect the voices' by going round the table and working out who is for and who against a proposal (Heath, 1976). The cabinet agenda is drawn up by the Prime Minister in consultation with the Secretary to the Cabinet. Two items are usually on the agenda of each cabinet - a report on forthcoming parliamentary business, and a report on foreign affairs.

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