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Title: Party finance reform as constitutional engineering? The effectiveness and unintended consequences of party finance reform in France and Britain
Authors: Clift, B
Fisher, J
Keywords: France;Britain;Party funding;Constitutional engineering;Unintended consequences
Issue Date: 2005
Publisher: Palgrave
Citation: French Politics. No. 3. 234-257
Abstract: In both Britain and France, party funding was traditionally characterized by a laissez faire approach and a conspicuous lack of regulation. In France, this was tantamount to a 'legislative vacuum'. In the last two decades, however, both countries have sought to fundamentally reform their political finance regulation regimes. This prompted, in Britain, the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, and in France a bout of 'legislative incontinence' — profoundly transforming the political finance regime between 1988 and 1995. This article seeks to explore and compare the impacts of the reforms in each country in a bid to explain the unintended consequences of the alternative paths taken and the effectiveness of the new party finance regime in each country. It finds that constitutional engineering through party finance reform is a singularly inexact science, largely due to the imperfect nature of information, the limited predictability of cause and effect, and the constraining influence of non-party actors, such as the Constitutional Council in France, and the Electoral Commission in Britain.
ISSN: 1476-3419
Appears in Collections:Politics and International Relations
Dept of Politics, History and Law Research Papers

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