Political Parties and Party Systems

Hans‐Dieter Klingemann

in The European Voter

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780199273218
Published online October 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602962 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics

 Political Parties and Party Systems

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This chapter offers a historical description of the development of the national party systems of the countries represented in the book. First, it provides an overview of the political parties in the various countries and classifies them by party family. Second, it deals with three aspects of inter-party competition which have been singled out as important by previous research efforts: (1) the number of political parties (fragmentation), (2) the ideological distance between parties (polarization), and (3) the degree of electoral change (volatility). Measures of these characteristics allow a basic description of the structure and dynamics of party systems.

Keywords: party systems; party manifestos; party families; polarization; volatility; fragmentation

Chapter.  13211 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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