Introduction - Government coalitions in multi-level settings: Institutional determinants and party strategy

Irina Stefuriuc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


Coalition formation is one of the main challenges that political parties face in decentralized political systems. And yet it has received surprisingly little attention from scholars of party politics in multi-level settings. In unitary systems, coalition formation can be a complex game, but still the determinants of coalition formation at the national level can be found at the same level, that is, among the characteristics of the national party system, national electoral competition, national institutions and national party organizations. On the contrary, in decentralized systems coalition formation is a multi-level game. In such settings, political parties operate simultaneously in different party systems and different institutional settings, hold varying weights therein and often need to strike deals with possibly different partners at different levels. All this obviously means that parties are confronted with difficult choices: Stepping in government at only one level or staying in opposition at both? Opting for a single consistent strategy or trying out various, sometimes conflicting, coalition formulae? The way parties make their choices will largely depend on the type of available institutional opportunities, as well as on their own ideology, goal preference and internal organization.
This special issue brings together rticles that explore party strategy towards coalition government in decentralized countries. By surveying cases that range from fully-fledged federations to other forms of territorial decentralization, we hope to contribute to a better understanding on how the coalition strategy of political parties is shaped in different multi-level institutional contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalRegional and Federal Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • coalition formation
  • party strategy
  • multi-level settings


Dive into the research topics of 'Introduction - Government coalitions in multi-level settings: Institutional determinants and party strategy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this