Traditional theories about government formation in parliamentary democracies are based on the assumption that parties can be characterized as unitary actors. Many authors have questioned the soundness of this assumption. The problem with keeping it is that we may miss important factors explaining why certain coalitions form if we do not consider the role of intra-party politics. In this article, I evaluate two hypotheses drawn from a discussion about intra-party politics and coalition formation, hypotheses stating that, internally democratic parties and factionalized parties are less likely to get into government. Using different methods of evaluating coalition theories on data from Swedish local government, I find support for both hypotheses. It is concluded that we should consider the internal workings of parties when explaining and predicting coalition formation.
- Intra-party democracy
- Coalition formation