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When, How and Why Are Junior Coalition Parties Able to Affect a Government's Foreign Policy? A Study of Swedish Coalition Governments 2006–2014

Journal article
Authors D. Brommesson
Ann-Marie Ekengren
Published in Scandinavian Political Studies
ISSN 0080-6757
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Political Science
Language en
Subject categories Political Science


Junior partners in a coalition government are torn between an eagerness to profile themselves, and to show loyalty to the coalition. We investigate when, how and why junior coalition parties affect foreign policy and profile themselves despite demands for national unity. We study two Swedish centre-right governments in 2006–2010 and 2010–2014. The parties' foreign policy positions in election manifestos are compared to the foreign policy positions presented in the joint Alliance manifesto and yearly government declarations. An explorative analysis of possible explanations for junior parties' influence is based on elite interviews. The results indicate that junior coalition parties might influence the foreign policy in symbolic value related issues, but less so in issues with real policy implications. Our analysis reveals the importance of the leading member of the coalition and how junior parties converge over time towards the position of the senior coalition member. © 2019 Nordic Political Science Association

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