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Nathan Yanai, "Why Do Political Parties Survive? An Analytical Discussion," Party Politics, 5 (January 1999), 5-17.

First Paragraph:
The continued concern with the issue of party decline prompts an intriguing question, derived from an opposite angle of inquiry: why do political parties survive? Any attempt to answer this requires an examination of the specialized and critical role of the modern party as well as of its particular relationship with the representative system of government.

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Last Paragraph:
Political competition is significantly different from that of the sporting world because of the added contest of ideas. The rules of competition also differ, as politics does not necessarily produce a conclusive outcome; it does not always have strict rules enforced by neutral officials; it is not limited to a given time or spatial unit; and the prizes are not always known in advance. Nevertheless, it is no longer possible to discuss politics without taking cognizance of the independent social role of competition itself. From this problematic but still partially constructive comparison, it may be concluded that politics as a specialized field of social competition will always require the service of political parties to legitimately produce the competing teams. In doing so, political parties contribute to the legitimacy of political competition itself despite the uneven distribution of political prizes, most notably the position of leadership in government.