Fraction (politics)
Encyclopedia
A parliamentary group, parliamentary party, or parliamentary caucus is a group consisting of members of the same political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 or electoral fusion
Electoral fusion
Electoral fusion is an arrangement where two or more political parties on a ballot list the same candidate, pooling the votes for that candidate...

 of parties in a legislative assembly such as a parliament
Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

 or a city council
City council
A city council or town council is the legislative body that governs a city, town, municipality or local government area.-Australia & NZ:Because of the differences in legislation between the States, the exact definition of a City Council varies...

. Parliamentary groups correspond to party caucuses and conferences
Party caucuses and conferences in the United States Congress
Members of each major party in the United States Congress meet regularly in closed sessions known as party conferences or party caucuses . Participants set legislative agendas, select committee members and chairs, and hold elections to choose various Floor leaders...

 in the United States Congress. A parliamentary group is sometimes called the parliamentary wing of a party, as distinct from its organisational wing.

Generally, parliamentary groups have some independence from the wider party organisations. It is often thought improper for elected MPs to take instructions solely from non-elected party officials or from the small subset of the electorate represented by party members. In any case, the exigencies of government, the need to cooperate with other members of the legislature and the desire to retain the support of the electorate as a whole often preclude strict adherence to the wider party's wishes. The exact relationship between the parliamentary party and the party varies between countries, and also from party to party. For example, in some parties, the parliamentary and organisational leadership will be held by the same person or people, whether ex officio or not; other parties maintain a sharp distinction between the two offices. Nevertheless, in almost all cases, the parliamentary leader is the public face of the party, and wields considerable influence within the organisational wing, whether or not he or she has any official position there.

The term especially applies to Australia
Politics of Australia
The Politics of Australia take place within the framework of a parliamentary democracy, with electoral procedures appropriate to a two-party system. Australia is governed as a federation and as a constitutional monarchy, with an adversarial legislature based upon the Westminster system...

 and many European countries including, but not restricted to, Germany
Politics of Germany
The Federal Republic of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic, based on representative democracy. The Chancellor is the head of government, while the President of Germany is the head of state, which is a ceremonial role but with substantial reserve powers.Executive power is vested in the...

 (where the term Fraktion is used), Switzerland
Politics of Switzerland
The politics of Switzerland take place in the framework of a multi-party federal parliamentary democratic republic, whereby the Federal Council of Switzerland is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government and the federal administration and is not concentrated in any one...

 (fraction/Fraktion/frazione), to Austria
Politics of Austria
The Politics of Austria take place in a framework of a federal parliamentary representative democratic republic, with a Federal Chancellor as the head of government, and a Federal President as head of state. Executive power is exercised by the governments, both local and federal...

 (Club), Belgium
Politics of Belgium
Politics of Belgium takes place in a framework of a federal, parliamentary, representative democratic, constitutional monarchy, whereby the King of the Belgians is the Head of State and the Prime Minister of Belgium is the head of government in a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by...

 (fractie/fraction/fraktion), Italy
Politics of Italy
The politics of Italy is conducted through a parliamentary, democratic republic with a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised collectively by the Council of Ministers, which is led by the President of the Council of Ministers, referred to as "Presidente del Consiglio" in Italian...

 (gruppo), Finland
Politics of Finland
Politics of Finland takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic and of a multi-party system. The President of Finland is the head of state, leads the foreign policy, and is the Commander-in-chief of the Defense Forces. The Prime Minister of Finland is the head...

 (eduskuntaryhm√§/riksdagsgrupp), the Netherlands
Politics of the Netherlands
The politics of the Netherlands take place within the framework of a parliamentary representative democracy, a constitutional monarchy and a decentralised unitary state. The Netherlands is described as a consociational state...

 (fractie), and Romania
Politics of Romania
Politics of Romania take place in a framework of a semi-presidential parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Romania is the head of government and the President of Romania exercises the functions of head of state. Romania has a multi-party system. Executive...

 (grup parlamentar), which all have recognized multiparty systems and strong party discipline
Party discipline
Party discipline is the ability of a parliamentary group of a political party to get its members to support the policies of their party leadership. In liberal democracies, it usually refers to the control that party leaders have over its legislature...

. In these and many other countries, the only way that parties and MPs can receive financial and personal support and can join parliamentary committee
Committee
A committee is a type of small deliberative assembly that is usually intended to remain subordinate to another, larger deliberative assembly—which when organized so that action on committee requires a vote by all its entitled members, is called the "Committee of the Whole"...

s is by organizing themselves in parliamentary groups. Parliamentary group leaders are often important political players. Parties that are not in government often choose the party's political leader as the chairperson. Parliamentary groups often use party discipline
Party discipline
Party discipline is the ability of a parliamentary group of a political party to get its members to support the policies of their party leadership. In liberal democracies, it usually refers to the control that party leaders have over its legislature...

 to control the votes of their members. MPs can also choose to leave their own party and (sometimes) set up their own parliamentary group.

The political groups of the European Parliament are similar to parliamentary groups. They are more regulated than other kinds of parliamentary groups: to gain financial support or to join committees, each parliamentary group must consist of no less than 19 MEP
Member of the European Parliament
A Member of the European Parliament is a person who has been elected to the European Parliament. The name of MEPs differ in different languages, with terms such as europarliamentarian or eurodeputy being common in Romance language-speaking areas.When the European Parliament was first established,...

s from five different EU member states.

Leadership

A parliamentary group is typically led by a parliamentary group leader
Parliamentary group leader
The leader or chairman of a parliamentary group holds an influential political post in a parliamentary system with strong party discipline...

 or chairperson, though some parliamentary groups have two or more co-leaders. If the parliamentary group is represented in the legislature, the leader is almost always chosen from among the sitting members; if the leader does not yet have a seat in the legislature, a sitting member of the group may be expected to resign to make way for him or her. If the party is not represented in the legislature for the time being, the leader will often be put forward at a general election
General election
In a parliamentary political system, a general election is an election in which all or most members of a given political body are chosen. The term is usually used to refer to elections held for a nation's primary legislative body, as distinguished from by-elections and local elections.The term...

 as the party's candidate for their most winnable seat. In some parties, the leader is elected solely by the members of the parliamentary group; in others, some or all members of the wider party participate in the election. Parliamentary groups often have one or more whips
Whip (politics)
A whip is an official in a political party whose primary purpose is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. Whips are a party's "enforcers", who typically offer inducements and threaten punishments for party members to ensure that they vote according to the official party policy...

, whose role is to support the leadership by enforcing party discipline
Party discipline
Party discipline is the ability of a parliamentary group of a political party to get its members to support the policies of their party leadership. In liberal democracies, it usually refers to the control that party leaders have over its legislature...

.

UK APPGs

In the United Kingdom Parliament there exist associations of MPs
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 called all-party parliamentary group
All-Party Parliamentary Group
An all-party parliamentary group is a grouping in the UK parliament that is composed of politicians from all political parties.-All-party parliamentary groups:...

s, which bring together members of different parliamentary groups who wish to involve themselves with a particular subject. This term is in a sense the opposite of the term 'parliamentary group', which designates a group that includes only members of the same party or electoral fusion.

External links

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