Government Formation and Party System Stabilization in East Central Europe
Place of Publication
The stabilization of party systems in new democracies is commonly assumed to be a lengthy process. Applying Peter Mairs 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.
Political Parties, Democratic Transition, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, Electoral Volatility, Government Formation
Eastern European Studies | Political Science
James Toole (2000).
Government Formation and Party System Stabilization in East Central Europe. Party Politics.6 (4), 441-461. London, UK: Sage Publications.