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Deborah L. Norden, "Preface" to a special issue on "Party Systems and Democracy in Latin America," Party Politics, 4 (October 1998), 419-421.

First Paragraph:
Within Latin America, the analysis of contemporary political party systems is inextricably linked to the wave of democratization that washed over the region from the 1980s to the early 1990s. The newly democratic regimes fought to achieve a previously elusive political stability, while older regimes struggled to retain theirs. In all cases, political party systems have had an effect -- positive or negative -- on the durability and resilience of different regimes. Incorporating a variety of perspectives and cases, this project further explores the relationships between political party systems, democracy and stability.

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Last Paragraph:
The articles in this volume look at such issues as institutionalization, representation and competition in political party systems, in order to further understandings of the relationship between political party systems and democratic stability. Four articles deal with specific cases: Argentina, Chile and Venezuela, which can be considered relatively more 'institutionalized' political party systems; and Brazil, which has had a more fluid party system. (5th paragraph from the end)