This article introduces the first findings of the Political Party Database (PPDB) project, a major survey of party organizations in parliamentary and semi-presidential democracies. The project's first round of data covers 122 parties in 19 countries. In this paper we describe the scope of the database, then investigate what it tells us about contemporary party organization in these countries, focussing on parties' resources, structures and internal decision-making. We examine party-family and within country organizational patterns, and where possible we make temporal comparisons with older datasets. Our analyses suggest a remarkable coexistence of uniformity and diversity. In terms of the major organizational resources on which parties can draw, such as members, staff and finance, the new evidence largely confirms the continuation of trends identified in previous research: i.e., declining membership, but enhanced financial resources and 2 more paid staff. We also find remarkable uniformity regarding the core architecture of party organizations. At the same time, however, we find substantial variation between countries and party families in terms of their internal processes, with particular regard to how internally democratic they are, and in the forms that this democratization takes.3
This Research Note presents a new dataset of party patronage in 22 countries from five regions. The data was collected based on the same methodology to compare patterns of patronage within countries, across countries and across world regions that are usually studied separately. The Note addresses three research questions that are at the center of debates on party patronage, which is understood as the power of political parties to make appointments to the public and semi-public sector: the scope of patronage, the underlying motivations, and the criteria on the basis of which appointees are selected. The exploration of the dataset shows that party patronage is, to a different degree, widespread across all regions. . The data further shows differences between policy areas, types of institutions such as government ministries, agencies and state-owned enterprises, and higher, middle and lower ranks of the bureaucracy. It is demonstrated that the political control of policy-making and implementation is the most common motivation for making political appointments. However, in countries with a large scope of patronage, appointments serve the purpose of both political control and rewarding supporters in exchange for votes and services. Finally, the data shows that parties prefer to select appointees who are characterized by political and personal loyalty as well as professional competence.
Political parties are central to the process of democratization in east-central Europe. In contrast to the many studies that look at the instability of new parties and party systems, this article focuses on party organizational development. First, a hypothesis is put forward contending that parties in the region are likely to develop as formations with loose electoral constituencies, unimportant membership and a dominant role played by party leaders. Second, this hypothesis is tested on a sample of six parties from the Czech Republic. The analysis shows that certain variations in organizational structure exist, deriving from the distinction between old parties and newly established parties, the former deviating from the hypothesis to a greater extent than the latter.
This article aims to make a three-fold contribution to the study of Euroscepticism in the wider Europe. First, it presents a two-dimensional conceptualization of party positions on European integration in general, and of Euroscepticism in particular, distinguishing between diffuse and specific support for European integration (i.e. `support for the ideas of European integration' and `support for the EU'). Second, it analyses the location, type, and electoral strength of party-based Euroscepticism in the four candidate countries of East Central Europe - the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. Third, it contributes to the ideology vs. strategy debate, showing that ideology is the dominant explanation for both types of support, although strategy at times plays a role in explaining specific support.
Party patronage is generally associated with social, economic and political underdevelopment, and is hence seen as largely irrelevant in the context of contemporary European politics. In this article, we argue to the contrary, proposing that patronage reappears on the stage of European politics as a critical organizational and governmental resource employed by political parties to enhance their standing as semi-state agencies of government. In order to illustrate our main contention, we first define party patronage, disentangling it from other notions of political particularism that are often used synonymously in the literature. Second, we provide a brief overview of the literature on the past and present of patronage practices in Europe, arguing that rather than declining, patronage is still likely to be a relevant feature of contemporary party politics in Europe. Finally, we analyse the role of party patronage in the light of recent developments in several European countries, identifying three distinct patterns of patronage practices in the region.
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