Book Chapter Details
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Weeks, Liam
2021 September
The Oxford Handbook of Irish Politics
Independents and the party system
Oxford University Press
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Independents Non-partisan Party system Single transferable vote Populism Minority government
The presence of independents in the Irish political system is unusual from a comparative perspective. Sometimes seen as an idiosyncratic phenomenon, they are analysed in terms of their relation to the party system, and categorized in a manner similar to that applied to party families. Why independents do not form parties is analysed from an institutional and behavioural perspective, showing that there are a number of incentives for political entrepreneurs to remain as independents rather than transition to a new party. The nature of support for independents is assessed through a populist lens, considering if independents take the place of populist parties in the electoral marketplace. It is found that independents have more in common with left-wing progressives than right-wing nativists. The final section examines the role of independents in the government formation process, showing that the levels of stability and output are not as low as might be expected.
Farrell, David M.; Hardiman, Niamh
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