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Local Government Institutionalization in Hungary

Gábor Soós

Why are local political organizations enduring in certain municipalities and ephemeral in others? This book explores the systematic factors that influence the level of Local Party Institutionalization (LPI). The analysis of LPI in Hungary, a new democracy, shows that LPI there mainly depends on the electoral system, the functional size, stability and average age of the population. The local chapters of national parties, especially those of parliamentary parties, appear to be more durable than the civic organizations acting as local parties.
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Introduction

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This book investigates the institutionalization of a specific organization, the local political party, and explores the factors that influence the level of local party institutionalization.

Three questions can be raised concerning local party institutionalization. The first is normative: does a high level of local party institutionalization contribute to democracy? Shall we promote the institutionalization of local politics through party organizations? The second question is empirical: what determines the level of local party institutionalization? What conditions make local party institutionalization possible and what conditions make it thrive? Finally, the third question is related to policy: How can the level of local party institutionalization be influenced? What kind of legal measures can alter the institutionalization of local parties?

I will focus on the second question in this book: What explains the different levels of institutionalization? In a more technical way, my research question is: What are the systematic factors that shape the degree of local party institutionalization and how strong are their effects? Thus, the aim of the research is to identify variables that statistically explain the variance in the level of local party institutionalization.

While the majority of the book focuses on the empirical problem, it is not possible to avoid the discussion of the two other questions. Therefore, a part of the first chapter deals with the normative question. It places local party institutionalization in the context of other forms of institutionalization and points to the benefits of party-based local political systems. The concluding...

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