Chapter

Spain: A Textbook Case of Partitocracy

Peter Matuschek

in The Political Class in Advanced Democracies

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780199260362
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601873 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199260362.003.0018
 Spain: A Textbook Case of Partitocracy

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Following its late democratization, Spain immediately experienced a development towards political professionalism, a process in which the political parties have been decisive as they soon succeeded in monopolizing their position as the sole intermediating actor between the political system and society. As Spain's parties are heavily centralized and hierarchical, pursuing an individual political career has become virtually impossible without passing through parties, which have thus emerged as the predominant gatekeepers. Although political careers mostly start on the local level, they may take different paths afterwards with the national Parliament being an important but often a transitional stage. Thanks to the high degree of politicization, an abundance of fallback options exists in the spheres of state and society, whether in the public administration, public enterprises, or the parties themselves. For the individual politician, this system of partitocracy provides a relatively high degree of professional security and guarantees a constant 'recycling' of the political class as a whole.

Keywords: autonomous communities; caciquismo; Congreso de los Diputados; partitocracy; political career; political class; political parties; Spain

Chapter.  8257 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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