The SAGE Handbook of Comparative Politics presents in one volume an authoritative overview of the theoretical, methodological, and substantive elements of comparative political science. The 28 specially commissioned chapters, written by renowned comparative scholars, guide the reader through the central issues and debates, presenting a state-of-the-art guide to the past, present, and possible futures of the field.

Government Formation

Government formation
Wolfgang C.Müller


According to Schumpeter's (1942) ‘realistic’ theory of democracy, competition for government office is at the heart of modern democracy. Because governments are the central actors in most political systems politically ambitious individuals aim at government office and government participation is also a central goal for most political parties. In democracies such competition for government office ultimately is tied to elections. Either the people elect the government directly or their elected agents do so, or the government is appointed by the head of state but responsible to a parliament resulting from general elections. In the first case – in presidential systems – only the chief executive (and possible a vice-president as part of a ‘package’) is directly elected. Government formation is nevertheless ...

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