Item Vetoes and Attempts to Override Them in Multiparty Legislatures

Valeria Palanza, Gisela Sin


This paper analyzes the dynamics of vetoes and veto overrides in the context of a multiparty legislature using an original dataset from the period 1983–2007 in Argentina. We argue that the President can use an “item” or “partial” veto to selectively delete articles, while keeping enough distributive goods in the bill to break up the coalition responsible for its passage, thereby eliminating support for an override. Our research reveals that total vetoes – which affect all legislators equally – are more likely to be overridden than partial vetoes. Contradicting the received wisdom that in multiparty legislatures override attempts are more likely under a divided government, we find that override attempts are more likely in plurality governments. We use case analyses to illustrate the main arguments developed in this paper.

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