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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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Chapter 7: Further Evidence

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As Chapter 1 emphasized, local party institutionalization is a multi-dimensional concept. The indicators of party government and party loyalty primarily captured the attitudinal aspect (value infusion and reification) of local party institutionalization. This chapter discusses data about the structural aspect (systemness and autonomy) of local party institutionalization and provides additional evidence about the attitudinal facet.

The foregoing analysis is based on survey data. One of the datasets is the result of a multinational survey of local representatives. The other one is a survey of local organizations that successfully ran candidates in the 2002 local elections in Hungary. Unfortunately, the quality of the data used in this chapter do not come close to that of the electoral data analyzed in the previous two chapters. They are far from covering all municipalities. Moreover, the survey responses can be aggregated to the municipality level only with some caution, as not all representatives and organizations filled out the questionnaires. All these limitations have three consequences for the analysis. First, the small sample size does not allow any kind of causal analysis. Second, an examination of the relationships of the dimensions of local party institutionalization is hardly possible. Third, the ‘noise’, which characterizes most surveys, results in low statistical significance of the results. Still, even the survey data are able to reveal the major tendencies and relationships.

The chapter begins with a review of the sporadic data on the level of systemness in local party organizations in Hungary. Then, the degree...

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