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SPP 279

Title: POLITICAL PARTIES AND DEMOCRATIC CONSOLIDATION IN EAST CENTRAL EUROPE
 
Author: Gábor Tóka
 
Description: The thesis of this paper is that the presence of well institutionalized political parties is not a must for democratic consolidation. The evidence in support comes from surveys in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, and from electoral data. The paper examines in turn the definition and evidence concerning electoral volatility, the age and organizational style of parties, party fragmentation, the stability of electoral institutions, the links between social groups and political parties, and the programmatic structuration of party competition. It concludes that democracy is being consolidated in East Central Europe before parties are being institutionalized, and that the subsequent institutionalization of parties is desirable as a means to improve the quality of democracy.

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Postal Address:    CSPP Publications, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, G1 1XQ, UK

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