Fraction (politics)

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Fraction or parliamentary party is a term used to refer to the representation of a political party within a legislative assembly, a parliament but also a city council.

The term especially applies to Germany (where the term fraktion is used), Switzerland (fraction/fraktion/frazione), to Austria (the term club), Belgium (fractie/fraction/fraktion) and the Netherlands (fractie) which all have multiparty systems and strong party discipline. Here organizing parliamentary parties are the only way to gain financial and personal support for parties and for MPs to join parliamentary committees. Parliamentary parties have chairs, which are often important political players. For parties who are not in government, the chair is often the party's political leader. Some parliamentary parties such as the German Bündnis 90/Die Grünen has a two member chair. Parliamentary parties often use party discipline to control the votes of their members. MPs can also chose to leave their own party and set up their own fraction. The Dutch parliament currently has five such one person parliamentary parties.

The European Parliament party group are similar to parliamentary parties. They are more regulated than other kinds of parliamentary parties: to gain financial support or to join committees, each group must consist of no less than 19 MEPs from five different EU member states have to be member.

[edit] Other uses

Within some communist parties the term was used to refer to factions.

"A Fraction is a Party organisation inside a representative or delegate body. (It is also used for a grouping of all the Communists and their followers inside a trade union or similar organization.)" (Communist Party of Great Britain, 1922.)

The Red Army Faction, for example, should be correctly translated from the German as Red Army Fraction, although this name is not widely used.

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Fraction (politics)

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