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SPP 351

Title: ON THE INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF PARTY REGIMES IN EMERGING DEMOCRACIES
 
Author: Jack Bielasiak
 
Description: The study addresses a major controversy in postcommunist democratization: Are party systems crystallized and stable or rudimentary and inchoate; that is, are party regimes becoming institutionalized? The analysis focuses on rules of political engagement, the effectiveness of party contestation, and the extent of popular participation. It compares the initial democratization of Western Europe, Southern Europe, Latin America, and the former communist states. The evidence shows that rules governing party competition and popular participation are similarly institutionalized across the continents. But consistency in rules does not translate into stable patterns in competition and participation. The effective number of electoral parties and electoral volatility is generally higher in postcommunist countries than in other emerging democracies. On effective participation, the former communist and the Latin American states lag behind earlier democratizing countries. In all, the postcommunist path to institutionalization is more drawn out and precarious than earlier experiences in Western and Southern Europe, and is closer to the Latin American pattern, albeit even more volatile.

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

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland
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