Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2012


This paper explores how party competition influences states’ foreign policy choices. I argue that party competition has stronger explanatory power than it is often given credit for. To examine this dynamic, I discuss some alternative explanations of policy choices, then examine two cases studies and finally discuss implications that can be drawn from those case studies. The two case studies that will be analyzed are the British Labour government’s decision in 1999 to pass stricter immigration controls and the Turkish AKP government’s decision in 2006 to adopt a more hardline approach with regards to Cyprus. These two case studies have been chosen because many of the other variables that are often advanced as explaining policy choices would have predicted a different choice than was actually made. If party competition can override these concerns, then its explanatory power can be asserted with greater confidence.