Return to: Search Page or to: Table of Contents Vol. 20, Issue 2

Ingrid van Biezen and Petr Kopeck? "The cartel party and the state: Party-state linkages in European democracies," Party Politics, 20 (March 2014), 170-182. [Available at ]

First paragraph:
(second paragraph) This article addresses the other side of the equation, i.e. the relationship between political parties and the state. The growing importance of the state features prominently in the original cartel party article and is illustrated by theword cloud in Figure 1, which visually represents the word frequency of the cartel party article (excluding the words 'political party' or 'parties'). Indeed, Katz and Mair are to be credited for the significant readjustment in the scholarly debate on the perceived 'decline of parties', emphasizing that the strengthening of the party-state linkage has compensated for many of the parties' societal weaknesses. As a result, the relationship between political parties and the state has become more important in contemporary analyses of democracy and party government (e.g. Dalton et al., 2011; Kopecky´ and Mair, 2003). In particular, in Mair's publications the increased relevance of the state as an organizational resource for parties is not only of critical importance with regard to their own survival but also for the lowlevels of popular trust and legitimacy as well as the uncertain future of party democracy (e.g. Mair, 1995, 2006).

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1. Word cloud cartel party article.
Figure 2. Introduction of public funding.
Figure 3. Financial dependence on the state.
Figure 4. Chronology of party regulation and constitutionalization.
Table 1. Areas of party regulation.
Figure 5. Index of party regulation.
Figure 6. Index of party patronage.

Last Paragraph:
Indeed, there might even be a certain paradox here. We argued above that the increasingly legally codified position of the parties may have given them special privileges within the institutional apparatus of the state. The same increase in the nature and intensity of party regulation, however, may also mean that parties are bound by tighter restrictions, including those that aim to combat corrupt financial transactions or that curtail the scope of party political involvement in the appointments to state institutions. Indeed, there are numerous examples of recent institutional reform--for example in the UK or in Iceland--that aim to transfer the power of patronage from political parties and their ministers to bureaucratic and non-political actors, thus potentially weakening the privileged position of the parties. This suggests that an increase of the party-state linkage on one dimension might actually lead to its decrease on another. If this is so, then one of Peter Mair's principal concerns, i.e. that a close relationship between parties and the state will undermine the popular legitimacy of political parties, and European democratic regimes may have to be modified. In other words, it is not the party-state linkages per se, but rather the extent to which this relationship strengthens the privileged position of the (established) parties within the system (cf. Mair, 1995) that is most likely to have an adverse effect on their democratic legitimacy.

Last updated March 2014