Do party organizations integrate multi-level states? The case of the Norwegian Local Government Reform
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionRegional & Federal Studies. 2019, . 10.1080/13597566.2019.1684268
Party organizations are often said to integrate the territorial levels in a political system. This article analyses how party organizations handled a specific issue – municipal amalgamations initiated by the state – in a unitary state – Norway. Two types of organizational linkage are explored. First, bottom-up influence: to what extent did party branches attempt to influence national party policy? Second, top-down coordination and control: to what extent were party branches tools for implementing national party policy? Based on qualitative interviews in five Norwegian parties, the analyses show that party organizations provided linkage in different ways. In the most united parties, low levels of internal disagreement enabled the parties – at all levels – to promote their national policies. In divided parties, the party organization became an arena for competition between opposing views. These parties chose to emphasize local self-determination. Accordingly, they had less of a national policy to implement.