A common observation is that incumbents are repeatedly re-elected to office even though they are commonly known to be corrupt, and sometimes even in societies that are fairly homogeneous in an ideological sense. In the article, we review current models of electoral agency explaining how corrupt incumbents are re-elected, but only if voters are uncertain of their true type or society is polarized. We therefore present a simple model indicating how corrupt incumbents are least likely to be defeated when voters value future gains highly and the percentage of evidently corrupt politicians is high. The result rests on a trade-off between discipline of current incumbents and selection of new rulers.
Using so-called Banzhaf numbers, one may compare the voting power of political parties both cross-sectionally and longitudinally. This paper offers such a method applied to Nordic parliaments during the post-war period. The findings indicate: (a) that the voting power of political parties in national assemblies is not proportional to seats, and (b) that political parties under minority governments come close to proportionality, whereas political parties under majority or consensus governments deviate considerably from proportionality. Some parties score much higher on voting power than their relative number of seats suggest, whereas the opposite is true of several parties under majority or consensus governments. Findings support the theory that minority governments are not an aberration.
Against the backdrop of the recently completed 4th International Polar Year (2007–09), the forthcoming 50th anniversary of the signing of the Antarctic Treaty will be a useful occasion on which to explore and analyse the consequences of the Polar Years predecessor – namely, the International Geophysical Year (IGY, 1957–58) – in terms of international politics and the development of international law. Not only was the IGY the precursor of a new epoch in the development of new patterns and structures of international cooperation in scientific research, it was also a catalyst, an institutional platform and a provider of substance for the eventual establishment of a new creature in international politics and international law – the Antarctic Treaty of 1959. This instrument, which will have its 50th anniversary 1 December 2009, was to have far-reaching consequences. First and foremost, the Treaty entailed a de facto settlement of the comprehensive political and legal conflicts resulting from the unsolved questions of sovereignty that prevailed in this part of the world. This, in itself, was a major accomplishment of historic dimensions, but in a wider perspective it proved to be an innovative, dynamic and viable framework for the further development of fruitful and continuing international cooperation, providing inspiration for novel models of collaboration in inter-national politics and international law. The paper explores the questions of how and why the Antarctic Treaty came into being, and how the very preconditions that determined its genesis should turn out to be decisive with regard to its substantive contents. It also makes a tentative attempt at analysing the lessons learned from the experience of these past 50 years, including the question of the wider applicability of the Antarctic Model, cautiously warning against pushing the possible analogies (with, for instance, the Arctic) too far.