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The Leader of the Opposition

The notion of a leader of the opposition has been seldom studied by
political scientists although the personalization of political life and
increasing media attention have undoubtedly contributed to enhancing
this function. Such a paradox may be explained by the prudence
shown by social scientists toward individual actors, but also by the
difficult task of defining precisely the contour of this function (which
is little recognized by classical institutional mechanisms) and of identifying
those who perform it. This article proposes to mobilize three
series of analytical variables in order to study the leader of the opposition
: the classical institutional determinants, notably the form of the
regime ; the operational logics of the party systems, partly determined
by the types of ballot ; the “personal” elements associated with the
alleged charisma of the opposition leaders and their mastery of the
media. By applying these variables to the German, American, British,
French and Italian political systems, one realizes that the function of
leader of the opposition is not clearly codified, rarely monopolized
and increasingly dependent on the personal “characteristics” associated
with the political actors involved.


Référence électonique : Yves SUREL, "The Leader of the Opposition", Pouvoirs, revue française d’études constitutionnelles et politiques, n°108, 108 - L’opposition, p.63-80 . Consulté le 2021-10-21 17:25:47 . URL : https://www.revue-pouvoirs.fr/The-Leader-of-the-Opposition.html