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Andrea Ceron and Luigi Curini

This chapter examines the coalition-bargaining process that took place after the 2013 elections. Using a hand-coding technique, we analyzed the parliamentary speeches released by parties, first in April, during the investiture debate of the Letta I Cabinet, and again in December, during the confidence vote on the Letta II Cabinet. In mapping the policy position of Italian parties along the two most salient dimensions, that is, the economy and institutional reforms, we were able to assess theoretically the stability of the Letta cabinet(s). The lack of a “core party” and the wide policy distance between the two main partners of the coalition suggested the strong instability of the Letta I Cabinet, which ultimately led to the formation of a different government after the split of the PdL. This new Letta cabinet, however, was expected to be characterized by a strong instability as well.

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Stephen F. Szabo

Spahn appointment on the chancellor indicates her weakened position. The role of the chancellor in foreign policy has been one of largely setting policy guidelines and then coordinating policy in the cabinet. As Josef Janning noted: “A lot of foreign

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Mark Thurner

Museums everywhere now display fragments of their own past displays, often in the form of ancestral cabinets presented as autobiographical introductions. What is the meaning of this introspective and retrospective “return to curiosity” in museography? Reconnoitering a fistful of iconic museums in and around London and Madrid, I suggest that the all-encompassing metatrope of curiosity begs a deeper question: What is the museum a museum of?

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Carolyn Forestiere

The Renzi government formed in February 2014 was the youngest cabinet in Italian post-war history. It also had an equal number of male and female ministers—a first in Italian history. This chapter sets the scene by recounting the end of the Letta government before moving on to analyze the formation of the Renzi Cabinet, the competing inter- and intra-party considerations that affected the choice of ministers, and the need to signal technical competence in key economic roles.

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Thomas Saalfeld

A comparison of the 2005-2009 cabinet Merkel I (the “Grand“ Coalition) and the Christian Democrat-Liberal coalition cabinet Merkel II formed in 2009 presents an interesting puzzle. Political commentators and coalition theorists alike would have expected the CDU/CSU-SPD coalition to experience a relatively high, and the CDU/CSU-FDP coalition a relatively low level of overt inter-party conflict. In reality, however, relations in the CDU/CSU-FDP coalition were relatively conflictive, whereas the Grand Coalition seemed to manage conflict between reluctant partners successfully. This article seeks to explain these seemingly paradoxical differences between the two coalitions. It demonstrates that both the positioning of the coalition parties in the policy space and important institutions constraining coalition bargaining after the formation of the cabinet Merkel II (portfolio allocation, role of the CDU/CSU state minister presidents) disadvantaged the FDP in pursuing its key policy goals (especially tax reform). As a result, the Liberals resorted to “noisy“ tactics in the public sphere. The grand coalition, by contrast, was an alliance of co-equals, which facilitated a more consensual management of inter-party conflict.

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Voluntary Withdrawals, Forced Resignations, Collective Retirements or Just Bad Fortune?

A Competing Risks Analysis of Ministerial Turnover in the German Länder (1990-2010)

Sebastian Jäckle

’s popularity. These three examples show that ministers face different risks any of which could eventually lead to losing their cabinet post. Yet, until now, most scholars of ministerial careers have not distinguished between these diverse hazards, but have

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Katrin Scharfenkamp and Alexander Dilger

Are the highest politicians better qualified than their peers? In this article, we analyze differences between chancellors, vice chancellors, and ministers of the inner or residual cabinets of the German federal governments between 1949 and 2009 with respect to their social backgrounds and educational, economic, as well as political human capital. Different statistical methods reveal no clear primacy of chancellors or vice chancellors over other members of government. Interestingly, inner cabinets have higher qualifications than residual cabinets, as well as partly chancellors and vice chancellors.

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Yves Pourcher

This article details the results of a very long investigation into the life of a character who incarnates the darkest years of French history. Pierre Laval, first a cabinet member and then Council President, was the leader of a collaboration government under German occupation. The research was undertaken in the archives that his son-in-law, Count René de Chambrun, had assembled in his offices and apartment in Paris. It led to the discovery of a new source: the private notebooks that Josée, Pierre Laval's only child, had kept between 1936 and 1992. Once deciphered and analyzed, this source constitutes an extraordinary narrative of the period. It reveals the complicity of a worldly, fashionable milieu that never opened its eyes to the seriousness of what was happening. It reconstitutes the choices and cultural codes of French high society, which submitted meekly to the Nazis. This text emphasizes issues of methodology and the difficulties that writing this story entailed.

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Maurizio Cotta and Luca Verzichelli

An assessment of the second Berlusconi government in 2002, quite

predictably, holds considerable interest for a number of reasons. The

hopes pinned on this government, which is unusual in the history of

Italian politics, call for such a review. To begin with, this is the first

republican government characterized by the introduction of the

majority vote system to choose both the ruling coalition and the

prime minister. Secondly, cabinet ministers represent all components

of the electoral majority and can also count on a rather reassuring

advantage in terms of the seats they hold both in the Chamber of

Deputies and in the Senate. Finally, in a radically reshuffled political

structure following the events of the 1990s, the comeback of a player

(who may be identified as Prime Minister Berlusconi as well as the

center-right majority) whose government had failed the first time

around could be profitably analyzed in terms of institutional learning

and of the establishment of a new bipolar/majoritarian order.

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Ludger Helms

Learning from the Weimar experience, the founding fathers of the

Federal Republic eliminated the chance of a renewed institutionalized

conflict between the head of state and the federal government

through the creation of the Basic Law [Grundgesetz ]. They primarily

strengthened the power of the chancellor and his cabinet by introducing

the “constructive” vote of no confidence and abolishing the

principle of individual ministerial responsibility, while also reducing

the position of the federal president to a mere representative head of

state. With these clear-cut constitutional arrangements it is not surprising

that Germany has not been among the number of west European

democracies (such as Italy or Austria) for which issues

regarding the power of heads of state have occupied a rather prominent

position on the political agenda of the 1990s.