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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 8: Conclusions

← 192 | 193 → Chapter 8:Conclusions

Extract

This last chapter returns to the initial hypotheses and summarizes the findings. It also speculates on what kind of reform could increase the role of political parties in local governments in Hungary. The final section discusses the limitations of the research and outlines a research agenda that could go beyond those limitations in the future.

Chapter 1 defined local party institutionalization as a multidimensional concept with four components: reification, value infusion, systemness and autonomy. This section characterizes the level of institutionalization by these four aspects.

The level of reification, i.e. the degree to which parties are conceived as central actors, is best characterized by the Local Party Government index. Chapter 4, which examined this index, concluded that parties are present only in half of the municipalities in Hungary. It also found that parties become indispensable players in local politics only in the mixed electoral system. The analysis of certain questions of the Local Representative Survey in Chapter 7 arrived at the same conclusion.

Value infusion was primarily measured by the indicator of Local Party Loyalty. Chapter 5, discussing the loyalty of candidates to their nominating organizations, indicated a low general level of party loyalty: only every second candidate remained loyal. However, it must be noted that party organizations often disappear between elections. The malleability of local party organizations is also a sign of the (low) level of institutionalization, but does not refer to value infusion. The loyalty rate clearly differed by certain structural factors,...

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