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Party Groups in the European Parliament, Cohesiveness and MEPs' Survey Data: New Evidence on Voting Behaviour from a New (Simple) Methodology?


Abstract


The increased centrality of the European Parliament within the EU's institutional structure has influenced the importance of voting behaviour within the Parliament. The concept of voting behaviour can be split into a variety of elements, one of which is parliamentary group cohesiveness. A consolidated stream of literature has treated the Euro-party groups as highly cohesive actors, influenced mainly by the classical left-right cleavage, with nationality playing a marginal role. However, other scholars suggest that the methods used to reach these findings are biased. Using an original and simple methodology, which transforms data from surveys to virtual votes, I build a simple model to test voting cohesiveness if the national element is a weak predictor of "vote"; even though this vote is dependent upon exogenous preferences and not mediated by party discipline. My results show that the oft-repeated claims about the single-dimensionality of the European Parliament should be taken more carefully: national affiliation seems to play a greater role than the one usually envisaged by the mainstream literature.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20398573v1n2p137

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