Citizen Participation: From Pressure Groups to Political Parties
Apart from the institutional dimension of democratisation in which more elected seats are introduced into the evolving polity, another dimension in the democratising transition is participatory. An increase in citizen participation is not only a hallmark of ‘political development’, but also a concomitant of democratisation. According to O’Donnell and Schmitter, an opening in liberalisation is followed by the emergence of political parties, which belong to those social groups calling for ‘more explicit democratisation’ and bringing about ‘the explosion of a highly repoliticised and angry society’.2 Indeed, the ruling elites may be reluctant to implement further institutional reform without the pressure exerted by opposition parties, which mobilise citizen participation in the democratic transition. O’Donnell and Schmitter assert that political parties can contribute to democratisation by forming pacts, which are negotiated amongst parties to distribute representative positions or cooperate in the policy-making process. In the case of Hong Kong, although the existing political parties do not go so far as to establish any pact that can achieve a breakthrough in democratisation, they play a crucial role in sustaining the momentum of the democracy movement.
KeywordsPolitical Party Democratic PAR1Y Pressure Group Citizen Participation Political Group
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