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Political Parties and Party Systems
Political parties and party systems
Susan E.Scarrow

This chapter examines variations among party systems in contemporary democracies, asking not only why such differences arise, but also how they may affect representation and governance. It begins with a brief discussion of differences between countries' individual parties, and then moves on to consider the origin and impact of party system differences.

Why Do Parties Form?

Today parties play a central role in almost all democratic governments, yet this role was an unanticipated–and in many cases unwanted–feature of popular government. Indeed, well into the early twentieth century some political thinkers portrayed parties and partisanship as threats to public welfare (Scarrow 2002). But neither warnings nor reforms deterred the rise of party-dominated politics. In one country after another, ...

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