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SPP 317

Title: PARTY SYSTEMS IN CENTRAL EAST EUROPE: DIMENSIONS OF SYSTEM STABILITY
 
Author: Algis Krupavicius
 
Description: This paper examines the impact of electoral behaviour and the structural conditions of Central and East European (CEE) party systems on prospects for democratic consolidation. The electoral basis of party system stability is examined through such indicators as voter turnout and indexes of volatility and proportionality. Structural causes of instability are examined through numbers of effective parties, the index of aggregation, numbers of new parties and the strength of the largest parties and of class-based, ethnic, religious and agrarian parties. There is a trend toward decline in numbers of parties. The conservative or liberal consensus combined with the leadership of bourgeois parties contributes to stability. However, in some countries there continue to arise a high proportion of new parties at every election. Other factors which work against consolidation in the long term are high rates of electoral volatility and electoral exclusion. Further research to confirm these findings would need to address the stability and content of ideological discourse, coalition-building strategies, stability of factions and the internal organization of parties.

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

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