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The preparation and use of election manifestos: learning from the Irish case

Däubler, Thomas (2012) The preparation and use of election manifestos: learning from the Irish case. Irish Political Studies, 27 (1). pp. 51-70. ISSN 0790-7184

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Identification Number: 10.1080/07907184.2012.636183


Election manifestos are important documents, but very little is known about the way parties create their manifestos and how they use them. This is unfortunate, because such knowledge can inform both the academic study of party politics and political practice. This article presents original results from interviews with actors who played a key role in creating the 2007 national election manifesto for the major Irish parties. It describes the sequence of actions in developing the manifesto, and how those involved in the preparation perceive its functions. The results suggest that preparation processes are similar to those found a decade ago, but a trend towards giving party activists a larger say seems to be emerging. This finding is at odds with the prediction of the cartel party model that party leaders seek to reduce the influence of activists. Another finding is that manifestos are not only used to address voters, but also are tools for intra-party coordination, for communication with interest groups, and are especially important in the government formation process. Students of party competition should take this multi-purpose nature of the documents and variation in preparation modes into account. Finally, if there is a lack of policy debate in Irish election campaigns, the reason does not lie in a lack of policy material on the side of the parties.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 Political Studies Association of Ireland
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Sets: Departments > Government
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2012 11:16
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2020 01:35

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