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The Acceptance of Party Unity in Parliamentary Democracies$
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David M. Willumsen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198805434

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198805434.001.0001

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Perceptions of Party Unity in the Visegrád Countries

Perceptions of Party Unity in the Visegrád Countries

(p.103) 5 Perceptions of Party Unity in the Visegrád Countries
The Acceptance of Party Unity in Parliamentary Democracies

David M. Willumsen

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses the four Visegrád countries (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia) in the early 1990s, as a least-likely case of party influence on legislators. First measuring incentives to defect based on policy preferences, it is found that these are relatively low, but, as expected, substantially greater than in the Nordic case, and certainly greater than the observed unity. Analysing attitudes to unity, it is found that, as in the Nordic countries, unity is driven by legislators’ understanding that their long-term goals are best served by belonging to a united parliamentary party. Further analysing legislators’ answers to survey questions regarding the costs and benefits of belonging to a parliamentary party, it shows that legislators focus on the collective goods that being in a parliamentary party brings, and are much less interested in the more individualistic benefits, even in a setting very unfavourable to strong parties.

Keywords:   Visegrád countries, legislative state of nature, non-institutionalized political system, parliamentary clubs, successor parties, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia

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