Ian Holliday

in Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780199240562
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600296 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics


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Spain has made a number of experiments with democracy, but only since the mid‐1970s has this been successful. At that time, strenuous efforts were made to ensure that political parties would come forward, and as a result the new democracy had two key aspects: the creation of synthetic parties (in the sense that they are supported more from above than below), and the building of a parties state. The introductory part of the chapter discusses these changes and also has a section looking at the institutional framework that had such a shaping effect on party politics; this discusses the electoral system, and the rules governing parliamentary group organization and party finance. The next three sections cover the same topics as those in the other country case studies in the book, and examine party legitimacy (party membership, electoral turnout and volatility, popular assessments, party–voter ties, and evaluating party legitimacy), party organizational strength (parliamentary party organization, mass party organization, party finance, ‘goods in kind’ received by parties, and evaluating party organizational strength), and the systemic functionality of parties (governance, political recruitment and patronage, interest articulation and aggregation, political participation, political communication and education, and evaluating the systemic functionality of parties). The concluding section assesses the viability of Spain's parties state and gives a comparative analysis of its experience of democracy.

Keywords: case studies; democracy; electoral system; electoral turnout; electoral volatility; governance; institutional framework; interest aggregation; interest articulation; mass party organization; parliamentary party organization; parties state; party finance; party functionality; party legitimacy; party membership; party organization; party performance; party politics; party–voter ties; political communication; political education; political participation; political parties; political patronage; political recruitment; political system; Spain; synthetic parties

Chapter.  15237 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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