Political Parties and Party Systems

By Alan Ware | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOUR
PARTIES IN NON-LIBERAL- DEMOCRATIC REGIMES
Thus far we have been concerned exclusively with parties operating in liberal democratic regimes. This approach might seem rather odd given that party politics in liberal democracies had its origins in political conflict in pre-democratic regimes and that in most non-liberal-democracies there are political organizations calling themselves parties. However, there is an important reason for following this approach. The similarities between parties in liberal democracies are sufficiently great that by comparing how they differ we can hope to develop general explanations of why parties have developed in the ways that they have. By contrast, there are many types of non-liberal-democratic regimes. Even if we exclude traditional societies, such as those in the Persian Gulf, where formal parties have not developed, there is still an enormous variation in non-liberal- democracies. A residual category, non-liberal-democracies would include, for example, South Africa under white rule, Syria, the People's Republic of China, Mexico, Zambia and, for much of its history, Bolivia. Beyond the fact that they are states and that parties have formed in them there is remarkably little that these countries have in common.Nevertheless, if there are good reasons for starting a comparative analysis of political parties with liberal democracies, because of certain aspects of their political heritage which they share, this does not mean that a study of parties should ignore parties elsewhere. There are two reasons for this.
Even with the possible spread of liberal democracy into Eastern Europe and Latin America, and the stability of that development has yet to be confirmed, there are still a great many countries which have political parties but which are not liberal democracies.
The boundaries between the category 'liberal democracy' and 'other kinds of regime' are very fuzzy; the former cannot always be treated as a regime type that clearly stands apart. Certainly, Sweden and Australia are liberal democracies,

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