Election pledges and their enactment in coalition governments : a comparative analysis of Ireland

Costello, Rory and Thomson, Robert (2008) Election pledges and their enactment in coalition governments : a comparative analysis of Ireland. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, 18 (3). pp. 239-256. ISSN 1745-7289

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Abstract

This study examines election pledges and their enactment in Ireland. Much previous research focused on countries where single‐party governments are the norm (the United Kingdom, Canada and Greece), and the presidential system of the United States with separation of powers. The present research draws on evidence from existing studies of pledge enactment in Ireland and the Netherlands. In addition, it adds new evidence on election pledges and their enactment in the most recent Irish government: the majority centre‐right coalition of Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats, 2002–2007. By adding this new evidence, we are able to make stronger inferences on the impact of coalition governance on the types of pledges made and rates of pledge enactment. We also study the impact of prominent mechanisms of coalition governance – government agreements and ministerial portfolio allocations – on the likelihood of pledge enactment. In addition, in an effort to move beyond existing research, we present evidence on the extent to which election pledges are featured in media reports during the election campaign.