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"The National Front and Agenda Formation in France"

Schain, Martin A. (1995) "The National Front and Agenda Formation in France". In: UNSPECIFIED, Charleston, South Carolina. (Unpublished)

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    The influence of marginal political parties over agenda formation has generally been understood from the perspective of coalition politics. Thus small parties influence the development of the policy agenda in a cabinet system through their ability to provide a majority of votes to one of two parties with a plurality in parliament in the process of govemment formation. However, little attention has been given to the influence of marginal parties over the political agenda when they are not needed for coalition formation. In the case of the French National Front, the party was represented in the National Assembly for only a brief period of two years (1986-88). Before that and since, although its electoral support has grown, the electoral law has more or less assured that it would have virtually no national representation. This leaves us with two related puzzles. Why then does the party seem to have had considerable influence over the policy agenda, and why have voters continued to support a party that appears to have little hope of actually entering govemment? There is no obvious reason why NF should have significant influence over agenda formation on immigration, since, at least in principle, the major parties reached a general understanding on immigration policy over a decade ago with the passage of the Law of July 17, 1984, which established the equivalent of a French "green card." The paper analyzes the dynamics of party competition and policy formation that have enabled the National Front to succeed in changing the terms of the debate on immigration, in a way that favors its own electoral success.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Countries > France
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > historical development of EC (pre-1986)
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > political parties
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > Third Pillar/JHA/PJCC/AFSJ > immigration policy
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 1995 (4th), May 11-14, 1995
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2007
    Page Range: p. 13
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:45

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