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The Proportionality of Office Distribution in the European Parliament, 1994-2012: Who Gets The Mega-Seats?

Giacomo Benedetto

Recent scholarship on the European Parliament has focused on its empowerment, the development of competitive politics between right and left, and appointments to committees or to the role of rapporteur. The literature has neglected the distribution of internal office or “mega-seats” between and within the Parliament’s party groups, office that provides influence on outcomes and which is the subject of this paper. The research finds that such office is assigned in proportion to group or party size, largely regardless of levels of attendance, turnover/continuity, or voting behaviour of parliamentarians despite the formation of consistent centre-right majorities in the Parliament since 1999 and across the EU since 2004. Although the content of the Parliament’s legislative output is more anchored to the right, institutionalized consensus has ensured the perseverance of power-sharing in the Parliament.

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