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Political Parties

A party within the context of political science is a political organization that seeks to influence government through shaping the views of its personnel. Parties are endemic to democracy. E. E. Schattschneider maintained that “parties created democracy and … modern democracy is unthinkable save in terms of the parties.”

Although parties are universal, their number, structure, and degree of institutionalization vary considerably from country to country. This diversity reflects the fact that parties are not part of the formal apparatus of democracy, nor do most democratic constitutions articulate a role for parties.

Nevertheless, parties play a central role in representative democracies. Three problems requiring collective action prompt the creation of parties: the need to choose candidates from among rivals, the need to take positions on issues from ...

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