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The European VoterA Comparative Study Of Modern Democracies$
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Jacques Thomassen

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199273218

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199273219.001.0001

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Political Parties and Party Systems

Political Parties and Party Systems

(p.22) 2 Political Parties and Party Systems
The European Voter

Hans‐Dieter Klingemann

Oxford University Press

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

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