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International Treaty Ratification and Party Competition: Theory and Evidence from the EU’s Constitutional Treaty

Friday March 30, 2012, from 11:00 to 13:00
Room Fred Halliday - IBEI (1st Floor)
Research seminar
Nikitas Konstantinidis (London School of Economics)
What explains a party’s dual decision to endorse or not endorse a referendum on an international treaty and to support or oppose that treaty in a referendum campaign? Treating referendums as second-order elections with an uncertain outcome we propose a probabilistic game of electoral competition between government and opposition, wherefrom we derive a number of hypotheses regarding the impact of timing, public opinion and political capital. Data on the position of 175 parties in 24 member states of the European Union (EU) on the appropriate ratification instrument for the EU’s Constitutional Treaty and their substantive position with respect to the Treaty itself allow us to test these expectations against empirical evidence. The results of a multinomial logistic regression model provide solid support for our theoretical reasoning.
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