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International Treaty Ratification and Party Competition: Theory and Evidence from the EU's Constitutional Treaty*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 November 2013


What explains a party's dual decision about whether to endorse a referendum on an international treaty and whether to support that treaty in a referendum campaign? Relying on an original game of second-order electoral competition, this article argues that the relative likelihood of a party endorsing a referendum is highest at the beginning and end of the electoral cycle, and when the public supports the treaty. The study uses data on the position of 175 parties in 24 member states vis-à-vis the EU's Constitutional Treaty and its preferred mechanism of ratification to test these expectations against empirical evidence. Using a multinomial logistic regression model, it finds robust support for the argument.

Original Articles
Copyright © The European Political Science Association 2013 

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Andreas Dür is professor of international politics, Department of Political Science, University of Salzburg, Rudolfskai 42, 5020 Salzburg, Austria ( Nikitas Konstantinidis is Temporary University Lecturer in International Relations, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, CB3 9DT Cambridge, United Kingdom ( We are grateful to Leonardo Baccini, Christian H. C. A. Henning, Thomas Sattler, Bernd Schlipphak, Gerald Schneider, Robert Thomson, Oliver Treib, Johannes Urpelainen, and participants at the 7th SGIR Pan-European International Relations Conference in Stockholm, the 4th Annual Conference on the Political Economy of International Organizations in Zurich, and the 1st Annual Conference of the European Political Science Association for helpful comments on an earlier version of this paper. To view supplementary material for this article, please visit


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