chapter  6
33 Pages

MPs acting for citizens

Where can they make a difference?
ByEsther Somfalvy

The final empirical chapter focuses on the most complex form of representation, substantive representation. Substantive representation refers to representation as activity, with MPs undertaking actions on behalf of their constituency. In addition to mapping all representational activities MPs undertake, the second focus of the chapter is on factors influencing their scope, intensity and form. In brief, Kazakhstan’s MPs pursue a top-down representation style, their activities being closely managed by their parties. In contrast to this, Kyrgyz MPs remain autonomous and lack co-ordination with their colleagues. While parliament engages in a whole range of tasks, including law-making, its overburdening with citizens’ complaints and a general lack of resources result in a reactive style of representation that MPs themselves describe as “problem-solving”.