By Arjan H. Schakel & Emanuele Massetti, 2018


This article aims to explain longitudinal and cross-sectional variation in regional government composition – oversized majorities and incongruence between regional and national governments (cross-cutting) – and regional government alternation. The analysis focuses on the explanatory value of a wide range of regional-level institutional variables, such as majoritarian vs. proportional voting systems and established practices of consociationalism. In addition, it provides a tentative exploration of the impact of regional (i.e. non-state-wide) parties on government composition and alternation. The findings show that most institutional variables have the expected impact, e.g., majoritarian voting systems increase government alternation and consensual practices decrease both crosscutting and alternation. The analysis also suggests that regional parties impact on government composition and alternation in two ways. Strong regional parties increase cross-cutting and, once in office, they tend to reduce alternation. Smaller regional parties out of office tend to increase alternation and to decrease oversized government as their seat shares grow.