Farewell to the Party Model?

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Mai 2008



Marion Reiser, Everhard Holtmann Local independent lists as political actors are a common phenomenon on the local level in many European countries ' in established Western democracies as well as in the `new' democracies in Central and Eastern Europe. In some West European countries, these non-partisan groups have been an established and stable element in the local political system for decades. Ty- cally, they understand themselves as protectors of a harmonious factual political style. In their opinion, good local politics is not compatible with party politics so they consequently perceive themselves as non-parties. During the last two d- ades, presence and success of local lists have steadily increased in these co- tries. Furthermore, during the last years local lists emerged also in countries which had been formerly fully party-politicised on the local level. Explanations offered for these developments are often based on the observation of a general decline of trust in established parties and politicians. Hence, it has been argued that the disenchantment with political parties is a fertile ground for local lists. For the Central and East European countries, this argument can be - ployed only to a certain extent. Local lists established themselves in the early 1990's as important actors on the local level especially due to a lack of party organisation in the process of democratic consolidation.


Theoretical and Conceptual Framework - Local lists in Eastern and Middle European Countries - A Bridging Case? - Local Lists in West European Countries



Reiser, Marion, Dr., is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Political Science at the Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg. Holtmann, Everhard, Dr., is Professor of Political Science at the Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg.


Local Lists in Europe (p. 11)

Everhard Holtmann

1. Introduction

The phenomenon of independent local lists (Ills) has not yet been a subject of international comparative research. Of course, there are manifold reasons for this lack of scientific attendance, but among the most serious are the absence of internationally agreed on definitions, a common conceptual framework, and above all, a first international oversight. The latter will be the ambitious project of this book, while the forthcoming paragraphs will deal with questions of a comprehensive definition and sketches of a possible conceptual framework.

The starting point is: how can we deal with the obvious heterogeneity of independent local lists regarding case studies of different European countries? Is there a definition that fits all cases? While keeping in mind national distinctions we must ask what influences the presence and success of independent local lists and how we can comprise these features in a comprehensive conceptual framework for comparative research.

2. The question of definition

To begin, we should deal with the question of definition. Local lists in European countries can be characterised by two criteria:

1. Ills are focussed on a local jurisdiction. Independent lists are solely locally organised. Nevertheless, in the local arena Ills are often confronted with local parties sections. Regarding this local co-existence of parties and nonparty formations, we need a further distinctive mark for Ills and that means:

2. A typical non-partisan local list is focussed and limited on one single local jurisdiction, dealing here primarily (if not to say only) with problems and tasks of its municipality or county. That means independent local lists practise a political self-restraint concerning supra-local politics. As local lists, they are localist.

However, ther
e are certain clandestine sub-species even if they are formally local lists, which oscillate between covered party loyalty and partial detachment. In some articles presented in this book, Ills run for example as "hidden local lists", or as "formally independent lists" sponsored by political parties (senior parties pushing local junior descendents), or as "revealed party-independent" lists (i.e. see the contribution of Copus et al. in this book).

3. Party systems as reference point for independent lists analysis

Now to the conceptual question which is of course much more complex. One basic assumption is: party systems normally act or, at least, should do so from a normative point of view like brokers between state and civil society. Agreeing to this does not mean to accept the classification scheme of "Cartel Party" uncritically (see for this debate Katz/Mair 1995 and Koole 1996).

But in all modern political systems, parties are expected to perform this intermediate core function. Playing this role in the local fields of domestic politics, too, political parties here must bind together the societal system, where social conflicts emerge, and the political system is charged with managing these conflicts in terms and modes of politics. So both spheres are held in a specific interrelation by means of party politics.
EAN: 9783531909233
Untertitel: Independent Local Lists in East and West European Countries. 2008. Auflage. Sprache: Englisch. Dateigröße in MByte: 2.
Verlag: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften
Erscheinungsdatum: Mai 2008
Seitenanzahl: 296 Seiten
Format: pdf eBook
Kopierschutz: Adobe DRM
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