Parliamentary Questions as Strategic Party Tools


This paper shifts the analysis of parliamentary oversight tools to the level of the political party, asking how political parties make use of written parliamentary questions. We theorise that the use of parliamentary questions is related to the ideological and electoral competition between political parties, borrowing from theories on issue competition and negative campaigning. We provide an empirical test using data on written questions from the lower house in the Netherlands (1994-2014). Our analysis shows that parties tend to ask questions to ministers whose portfolios are salient to them, in line with issue ownership theories. Moreover they ask questions both to ministers from parties that are ideologically distant and those with whom they have considerable electoral overlap in line with studies of negative campaigning.

West European Politics, 41(2): 496-516

This is an open access publication