Hurricane Season: Systems of Instability in Central and East European Party Politics
24 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2014 28, July
The seemingly random triumph and demise of new political parties in Central and Eastern Europe actually represents a durable subsystem with relevance for party systems around the world. This article supplements existing research on volatility with supplementary measures of party age distribution that reveal clear patterns of disruption, turnover and restabilization. These patterns emerge from stable and coherent party subsystems which follow a simple model based on three dynamics: losses by established parties, rapid gains by uncorrupted newcomers, and equally rapid newcomer losses to even newer parties. Confirmed both by electoral evidence and computer simulations, this model offers insight into the endurance of these subsystems, particularly since the very mechanisms which generate new parties’ success can preclude their ability to survive in subsequent elections. Central and Eastern European party systems offer a laboratory for understanding trends in party system volatility that are emerging in Western Europe and across the globe.
Keywords: volatility, new parties, party systems, party subsystems, Central and Eastern Europe
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