Parties and Members in the Twenty-First Century

Part of the St Antony's Series book series (STANTS)


Party membership plays a crucial role in party system institutionalisation. However, political party membership is often considered to be a declining phenomenon (Mair & van Biezen, Party Politics, 7(1): 5–21, 2001; van Biezen, Mair, & Poguntke, European Journal of Political Research, 51(1) 24–56, 2012). In the new democracies of central and east Europe, the decreasing value of members, combined with post-communist legacies and the availability of state subsidies, was expected to hinder the development of membership parties (van Biezen, Political Parties in New Democracies: Party Organization in Southern and East-Central Europe, 2003; Kopecký, Political Parties and the State in Post-Communist Europe, 2008). Yet, three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, considerable variation in party membership levels exists in post-communist democracies. This chapter reviews the literature on party membership and electoral systems, and concludes that there is a lack of research on how electoral rules shape party membership in young democracies.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Political DevelopmentsLandsmeerThe Netherlands

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