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Forms of Inter-party cooperation: Electoral coalitions and party mergers

Forms of Inter-party cooperation: Electoral coalitions and party mergers
Forms of Inter-party cooperation: Electoral coalitions and party mergers

This article is part of the special cluster titled Parties and Democratic Linkage in Post-Communist Europe, guest edited by Lori Thorlakson, and will be published in the August 2018 issue of EEPS Various forms of inter-party cooperation have important effects on party system fragmentation and stability in young democracies. However, the conceptualisation and measurement of these forms of inter-party cooperation and the examination of their consequences on party system development remain limited in the literature on parties and party systems. This research addresses this gap in the scholarship in three ways. First, we present the analytical scheme of different types of party cooperation. We argue that the forms of inter-party cooperation vary on two dimensions. The first dimension refers to their structural basis: the stability of the cooperation as captured by whether it is rule-based or, in other words, underpinned by shared rules that are mutually accepted. The second dimension refers to their scope: the number of functional areas of party life subject to cooperation. The two dimensions lead us to four basic forms of inter-party cooperation: (1) non-rule-based, functionally restricted coalitions; (2) rule-based, functionally restricted coalitions; (3) non-rule-based organization-wide mergers; and (4) rule-based organization-wide mergers. Second, we develop theoretical expectations on the frequency of these forms of inter-party cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe. Third, to test these expectations, we present empirical evidence on the number of electoral coalitions and mergers in the first six electoral periods in 10 countries in the region. The results of the analyses support our expectations: non-rule-based organization-wide mergers are rare. The other three forms of party cooperation (non-rule-based coalitions; rule-based coalitions; rule-based mergers) are fairly common in most countries in the region, although less so in the more recent electoral periods.

electoral coalitions, inter-party cooperation, party merger, party organization, party systems
0888-3254
Ibenskas, Raimondas
160594d0-2151-4be5-8d77-90418186dbc1
Bolleyer, Nicole
3f3eb3d7-092b-43cb-99ae-e7d51e0c988e
Ibenskas, Raimondas
160594d0-2151-4be5-8d77-90418186dbc1
Bolleyer, Nicole
3f3eb3d7-092b-43cb-99ae-e7d51e0c988e

Ibenskas, Raimondas and Bolleyer, Nicole (2018) Forms of Inter-party cooperation: Electoral coalitions and party mergers. East European Politics and Societies. (doi:10.1177/0888325418755299).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article is part of the special cluster titled Parties and Democratic Linkage in Post-Communist Europe, guest edited by Lori Thorlakson, and will be published in the August 2018 issue of EEPS Various forms of inter-party cooperation have important effects on party system fragmentation and stability in young democracies. However, the conceptualisation and measurement of these forms of inter-party cooperation and the examination of their consequences on party system development remain limited in the literature on parties and party systems. This research addresses this gap in the scholarship in three ways. First, we present the analytical scheme of different types of party cooperation. We argue that the forms of inter-party cooperation vary on two dimensions. The first dimension refers to their structural basis: the stability of the cooperation as captured by whether it is rule-based or, in other words, underpinned by shared rules that are mutually accepted. The second dimension refers to their scope: the number of functional areas of party life subject to cooperation. The two dimensions lead us to four basic forms of inter-party cooperation: (1) non-rule-based, functionally restricted coalitions; (2) rule-based, functionally restricted coalitions; (3) non-rule-based organization-wide mergers; and (4) rule-based organization-wide mergers. Second, we develop theoretical expectations on the frequency of these forms of inter-party cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe. Third, to test these expectations, we present empirical evidence on the number of electoral coalitions and mergers in the first six electoral periods in 10 countries in the region. The results of the analyses support our expectations: non-rule-based organization-wide mergers are rare. The other three forms of party cooperation (non-rule-based coalitions; rule-based coalitions; rule-based mergers) are fairly common in most countries in the region, although less so in the more recent electoral periods.

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Inter-Party Cooperation Accepted - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 4 December 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 29 April 2018
Keywords: electoral coalitions, inter-party cooperation, party merger, party organization, party systems

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 421426
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/421426
ISSN: 0888-3254
PURE UUID: 48b99958-1ebe-441b-9285-fd0920ebde7b
ORCID for Raimondas Ibenskas: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4128-9464

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Date deposited: 11 Jun 2018 16:30
Last modified: 08 Jan 2022 17:17

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Contributors

Author: Raimondas Ibenskas ORCID iD
Author: Nicole Bolleyer

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