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Raimondas Ibenskas, "Activists or money? Explaining the electoral success and persistence of political parties in Lithuania," Party Politics, 20 (November, 2014), 879-889, [Available at ]

First paragraph:
Stabilization of the party system is an important challenge for many new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe and other world regions. Fluid party systems, in which large swings in the electoral support of existing parties and the emergence of successful new parties are frequent, can undermine electoral accountability and political representation (Birch, 2003; Mainwaring and Zoco, 2007). The expansive literature on the subject has demonstrated that system-level variables, such as institutions, social cleavages, economic conditions and historical legacies, have important effects on electoral volatility and new party success. However, the precise mechanism by which party-specific factors shape the stability at the system level is less well understood. An important strand in the literature suggests that party organization is substantially less important for electoral success than sophisticated and expensive mass media campaigns (Mair, 1997; van Biezen, 2003). However, party-voter linkages based on mass media communication are less stable than those based on membership organizations. Hence, if true, the argument that party organization matters much less than mass media campaigns would provide an important explanation for party system instability in many post-communist democracies.

Figure 1. Number of members and delegates.
Table 1. OLS analysis of party system stability.
Table 2. Effect of membership organization and campaign spending.

Last Paragraph:
Finally, the study contributes to the extant literature on the effectiveness of incumbent and challenger spending by demonstrating that there are no significant differences between the two under the mixed electoral system in place in Lithuania. This finding supports those accounts in the literature which suggest that spending by incumbents and challengers should be equally effective in marginal districts.

Last updated November 2014