Stability of the party system contributes to the stability of democracy

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cular 14 5 webZagreb, May 15, 2015 – Within the study programme of the IEC and the Academy, two lectures on the Political System of Croatia were held last Thursday by professor Goran Čular from the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb.

During the first lecture, professor ÄŒular focused on analysing the Croatian party system and its main characteristics. Empirical studies have shown that there are some beneficial traits of the Croatian party system, though it also suffers from several deficits that might need to be addressed. Professor emphasized that the Croatian party system is extremely stable, which has had a positive impact on the consolidation of democracy in Croatia. Deficits manifest themselves in the relatively large number of parties in the Croatian Parliament, lack of representation for a significant percentage of voters (those who voted for parties that have not gained a single seat in the parliament) and low potential for mobilization, which is also a problem for most modern democracies.

In the second lecture, professor ÄŒular presented the main strands of thinking in political science on intra-party democracy as well as practical consequences of specific reforms with regards to democratization of the process of selection of candidates. Sartori (1976), for example, says that while parties are necessary for the functioning of democracies, they themselves do not have to be democratically structured. On the other hand, Duverger (1951) thinks that a democracy is incomplete without intra-party democracy. Practice has shown different consequences of introducing democratic processes of election of party's candidates. Political parties in Israel, after adopting a radical democratization of their internal electoral processes, had to revert to older types of decision making as American styled pre-elections caused chaos in the political system which made it difficult to govern the country. European political parties in general, however, have shown that letting, for example, regional party bodies (on the level of electoral districts) to choose candidates for parliamentary elections had no ill effect on the efficacy of making and maintaining governing coalitions.