Title

Government Formation and Party System Stabilization in East Central Europe

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-2000

Publication Source

Party Politics

Volume

6

Issue

4

Inclusive pages

441-461

Publisher

Sage Publications

Place of Publication

London, UK

ISBN/ISSN

1354-0688

Peer Reviewed

yes

Abstract

The stabilization of party systems in new democracies is commonly assumed to be a lengthy process. Applying Peter Mairs government-formation-based model of party system development to the three young East Central European democracies of Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic, the article finds that party systems can stabilize much more quickly than expected. In an analysis of emerging party system patterns, the Hungarian and Czech party systems are found to be far more stable than the Polish, and already nearly as stable as more mature party systems. Examining differences in the three cases, the article makes two primary conclusions about the process of stabilization in new party systems. First, it suggests that stabilization is the product of both electoral system design and consequent patterns of elite behavior. Second, it argues that stabilization not only occurs in spite of ongoing volatility in party-voter alignments, but actually serves to reduce it.

Keywords

Political Parties, Democratic Transition, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, Electoral Volatility, Government Formation

Disciplines

Eastern European Studies | Political Science

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