Professor Petra Schleiter

Professor Petra Schleiter’s research is in comparative politics, and focusses on Europe (East and West), the Former Soviet Union and Latin America. Her work examines how political institutions shape representation and accountability and her contributions fall into four broad areas: (i) understanding processes of cabinet formation and termination; (ii) examining how executive presidents affect cabinet composition, political representation and democratic stability; (iii) exploring how fixed and flexible parliamentary terms shape cabinets, government terminations, and electoral outcomes; and (iv) analysing how party system features condition representation, accountability and the scope for governmental corruption.

This comparative approach informs her work with practitioners. She is currently assisting UK policy-makers in understanding the implications of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act (2011) for the nature of the cabinets, their stability, and the manner in which they are likely to terminate. She is also working with practitioners to provide a better understanding of the UK’s caretaker conventions and recognition rules in comparative context. The party system in the UK is becoming more fragmented, which is leading more often to the election of parliaments without a single-party majority. As a result, politicians face more complex government formation negotiations and longer transitional periods (caretaker periods) between the dissolution of parliament and the formation of a new cabinet. These challenges demand (i) clearer caretaker conventions to enable and limit government activity during transitional periods, and (ii) clearer recognition rules to guide which actors are entrusted with the opportunity to form a government and in what order different actors will be invited to form a government. Professor Schleiter is advising policy-makers on how the UK’s caretaker and recognition rules can be developed to meet these new challenges. She is regularly giving evidence to the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, and is working collaboratively with a Senior Researcher in the House of Commons Parliamentary and Constitution Centre.

Professor Schleiter’s research has been published in leading academic journals including the American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, British Journal of Political Studies, European Journal of Political Studies, Party Politics, Government and Politics, Parliamentary Affairs, Post-Soviet Affairs, Europe-Asia Studies and The Political Quarterly.

For her research profile and detailed information on her publications, please see: (http://www.politics.ox.ac.uk/index.php/profile/petra-schleiter.html).

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