Party Manifestos, Opposition and Media as Determinants of the Cabinet Agenda

Enrico Borghetto, Ana Maria Belchior

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Cabinets are the engine of policy change in parliamentary systems. Yet, we still know little about how cabinets micro-manage the content of their multifaceted agenda during their term in office. Drawing on the party and agenda-setting literature, this article addresses this gap by focusing on three main determinants of cabinet priorities: issue priorities in the electoral platforms of majority and opposition parties, and new and unforeseen problems as conveyed by the media. Our analysis reveals that (1) majority platforms have a stronger impact on the cabinet agenda than those of opposition parties, but this effect decreases as the legislative term progresses; (2) cabinet agendas do take into consideration opposition electoral priorities but only when the latter are expressed by mainstream competitors or when the media focus on them and (3) an externally imposed adjustment programme can also create the conditions for strengthening the congruence between electoral and cabinet agendas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-53
Number of pages15
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • agenda-setting
  • cabinet agenda
  • media
  • opposition
  • party manifestos
  • Portugal


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