© 1999

Party Formation and Democratic Transition in Spain

The Creation and Collapse of the Union of the Democratic Centre


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Jonathan Hopkin
    Pages 1-8
  3. Jonathan Hopkin
    Pages 36-75
  4. Jonathan Hopkin
    Pages 76-111
  5. Jonathan Hopkin
    Pages 112-150
  6. Jonathan Hopkin
    Pages 151-188
  7. Jonathan Hopkin
    Pages 189-238
  8. Jonathan Hopkin
    Pages 239-249
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 250-289

About this book


The abrupt collapse and dissolution of the Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD), the party which governed Spain during the crucial period of the transition to democracy (1977-82), is one of the most extraordinary events in the history of European party politics. This book develops an original theoretical framework for the study of party institutionalisation, and draws on a wide range of empirical sources to offer new insights into the causes of the UCD's collapse.


democracy Europe history Institution politics Spain

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Science and International StudiesUniversity of BirminghamUK

About the authors

Jonathan Hopkin is Lecturer in European Politics at the University of Birmingham.

Bibliographic information


'Jonathan's Hopkin's work on the Spanish UCD is a fascinating description of the collapse of a political party which had successfully realised the transition from francoism and was the party of government for a number of years. Before the recent fall of some of the Italian parties, this case was almost unique in the western world: it remains a major puzzle which both academics and practitioners need to ponder. The end of the UCD is an example of failed or insufficient institutionalisation: there was too much of infighting among the 'chiefs'. Adolfo Suarez, the uncontested leader of the transition, was unable to bring these chiefs together. This works makes us reflect about the importance of leadership and the importance of party unity: these points do not concern Spain alone. There are lessons here for all western democracies, old or new.' - Professor Jean Blondel, Professor of Political Science, European University, Florence

'This book provides an impressive account of the collapse of the UCD, which is not only one of the most complex and ill understood events in contemporary Spanish history, but also a unique case in the recent evolution of Western European political parties. The book combines an original theoretical framework for the study of party organisation with a meticulous use of a wide range of empirical sources. The results of the research constitute an outstanding contribution both to the understanding of an exceptional case of party collapse, and to the development of theories of party organisation. As such, it is essential reading for students of Spanish politics and of party politics in general.' - José Ramon Montero, Instituto Juan March de Estudios e Investigaciones