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Matthew Wyman, Stephen White, Bill Miller and Paul Heywood,"The Place of 'Party' in Post Communist Europe," Party Politics , 1 (October, 1995), 535-548.

First Paragraph:
It is difficult to conceive of liberal democracy operating without political parties. They are the main channel through which the democratic debate is conducted.Their roles in aggregating and articulating interests, formulating collective goals, recruiting political leaders and in political socialization can in principle be performed by other institutions, such as leaders or governments, but it is the peaceful transfer of power from one party to another that is historically the 'litmus test' for assessing democratic consolidation.

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1: Membership of civic organizations.
Figure 2: Relative trust in parties.
Figure 3: Relative effectiveness of parties.
Figure 4: Desired forms of party competition.
Table 1: Support for one party or no party system by demographic characteristics and voting behaviour, Russia and Hungary(%).
Figure 5: Willingness to ban political opponents.
Figure 6:Depth of party identification (Russia 1 = pre-election; Russia 2 =post-election sample).

Last Paragraph:
Ultimately, however,the future of party systems may be more strongly affected by the decisions of political elites than the views of the population as a whole. In Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, there appears to be an elite consensus that the 'rules of the game' are that the government should consist of those parties able collectively to command a parliamentary majority. In Russia, however, Boris Yeltsin appears much less convinced of the merits of party government. In December 1993 he made a point of being 'above party' and of ostentatiously not endorsing any of the contenders.Subsequently, he and his government have continued largely to bypass the new parliament. In many ways, then, political parties play at present a less significant role than competing factions within the government structures, and than local leaderships attempting to assert their power against the centre.