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Divided Interests: Multi-level Parties and the Politics of Territorial Reform in Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
2016 (English)In: Scandinavian Political Studies, ISSN 0080-6757, E-ISSN 1467-9477, Vol. 39, no 1, 95-114 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

In the beginning of 2007, the Committee on Public Sector Responsibilities (CPSR) presented its final report on the future organization of the intermediate level of government in Sweden. The CPSR, which consisted of representatives from all parties in parliament, recommended replacing the existing structure of 20 county councils with six to nine regional municipalities. The committee's proposal is paradoxical in light of the resistance to regions that exists within the country's two largest parties: the Social Democrats and the Moderates. The purpose of this article is to describe and explain the CPSR's unanimous proposal to establish regional municipalities despite this resistance. How was it possible to achieve a unanimous proposal? In order to explain this paradox, I use the multi-level party' theoretical approach. The empirical study, consisting of a qualitative case study of the actions of the Moderates and the Social Democrats on territorial policy, supports this theoretical construct. It is evident from the empirical record that groups within the parties had different views about territorial policy. Within the CPSR, the advocates for regions took control, which made a unanimous proposal possible. The research findings improve our understanding of party organization in a polity characterized by multilevel governance. When the central level delegates more power and responsibility to subnational levels, the balance of power within parties changes. New regional and local elites arise, which makes it possible for a single party to communicate different messages on territorial policy depending on which group is in charge within a particular arena.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2016. Vol. 39, no 1, 95-114 p.
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-118242DOI: 10.1111/1467-9477.12059ISI: 000370449400005OAI: diva2:912836
Available from: 2016-03-18 Created: 2016-03-14 Last updated: 2016-03-18Bibliographically approved

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Feltenius, David
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