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Types of Party Systems

2. Factors that influence pluraristic party systems
3. Issues related to Romanian party system

Types of Party Systems

Joseph Lapalombara and Weiner classified accourding to 1.the

number pf parties; 2.internal characteristics of parties(ideology etc); 3.the
way political power is held by them.
They identified 3 types of political systems according to these:
By the nr of parties:
1. The non-party political systems – there are situations where
parties do not form, or are repressed once formed. Parties are
deliberately prevented to form or continue to exist.
Ex: Authoritarian regimes-dominate by military or civil-
bearucratic rule that deny a legitimate place for parties in the
political stage.(it is difficult to function without parties)

2. Competitive Political Systems – where theoretically and legally

parties are accepted, are desired and where parties once in
power may be then out of power and may then be in.
Two-party system.
Multiparty system.

3. Non-competitive Party Systems

a. One party authoritarian system – classical
authoritarian system, based on ideology, one
party, dominating from more than a hegemonic
position. Members of oposition are considered
b. One party pluralistic authoritarian – would like to
absorb opposition not destroy it: Mexico until
c. One party totalitarian system – the ideology is
important but here the one party is destroying its
opposition, the other are out of the law. TOTAL
DOMINATION. The one party becomes the state
ex: National Socialist Party under nazi regime,
Hitler; Communist Party in Soviet Union; East-Eu
regimes until 70’s; North Vietnam, Cuba.

For SELF-JUSTIFICATION they need enemies-often outside.

Criteria needed for a real democracy not a pseudo-one like popular
democracies in post ww2:
-Fair free open elections.
-Possible turn-over without violence.
-Real opposition.
-All parties agree to enter into a competition according to the same rule.

By the way parties hold power.

-Hegemonic party system: over an extended period the same party
or a coalition dominated by the same big party hold governmental
EX: America: democrats starting with Roosevelt 1946-1996;
Japan- The liberal-dem party had gov pos from 1955-1993.
Italy: the Christian-Dem party after first world war for ideological
-A two-party turn-over system. (GB 1979-1990 Margaret Tacher
conservative; Amercan case dem-rep)



Concerning only competitive party systems, in Democratic-Liberal

regimes.(party system only in dem-lib regimes, at least 2 parties and
cover the 4 criteria mentioned earlier)

Elements that define the party system:

a. Internal structure of the parties – personnel party, mass party…
b. The number of political parties.
c. The type of parties(ideology etc).
d. The dimension of parties.
e. The condition of emergence of the parties that define their role in
the political systems.
Maurice DUVERGER adds here the specific factors:
f. Specific factors: certain tradition, ethnicity etc…
g. General factors: social classes(related to origins; he says in
europe parties emerged related to classes); ideology;
The voting system(the electorate) - rules through
which elections take place, mandates are allocated.

The influence of voting system on party system.

In 1955 DUVERGER identified 3 outcomes of party systems according to
the different electoral formula used. The voting system determines the
number of parties. (THE DUVERGER LAWS):
1. Proportional Representation (PR)(Scrutin Proportional) –
favors a multi-party system with independent(can get seats
in a coalition or not), stable political parties and ultimately
consensus democracy.
2. Simple Majority(Scrutin Majoritar Simplu)with double ballot –
favors a multi-party system but with dependent and
relatively stable parties.
3. Plurality voting With One Ballot – leads to a two-party
system, independent parties with turnover.
Opposition to DUVERGER came on the grounds that the influence claimed
by him neglected the influence of social phenomena as a main factor
determining a party system.

Counter theory: STEING ROKKAN & MARTIN LIPSET in 1967 claimed

that: Party systems are related to the 4 main lines of SOCIAL CLEAVAGE.
a. Center-Periphery : power center and also periphery; states
where there is regionalist challenge;
b. State-Church: Christian-Secular,
c. Land-Industry: workers-land owners
d. Owner-Workers

-They consider the parties emerging out of these cleavages as solutions to

-They argued that while electoral systems remained important and modify
party systems they do not fundamentally transform a party system since
in any party system, parties are the result of these fundamental social and
historical cleavages.

In more recent years it has become clear that Duverger claimed too much
influence for the role of electoral system and sociological analisys on the
other hand understated the influence of electoral systems. Both factors


Main Elements of an electoral system:

1. Ballot Structure – the way votes are cast.

One Ballot or Double Ballot.(scrutin)
Secret Ballot.
The number of votes a voter may cast(rare).
The Leaflet (Buletin de vot)
2. The Constituency Structure (Circumscriptia) – the territory to
which are alocated a nr of seats. They are made in a ballanced
way, territorial and demographycal.

The National Constituency(in case of president

Multiple Constituencies(local ellections, parl

District magnitude - The number of seats allotted to a

constituency: One Seat . More seats.
3. The Electoral Formula Itself – the procedure of turning votes
within a constitunecy(ies) into seats(parliament, regional council,
local council).
Two main formula:
a. Proportional Reprezentation.
b. Simple Majority with One Ballot or Double

Some draw elements from both.

-Most widely used today. It was invented by the end of the 19th
century by a Belgian mathematician D’HONDT.
-Used in Romania until last year. Ro now uses a combination.
-Two varieties of calculating, allocationg seats.
-It attempts to transform as proportionally as possible votes into
-Parties present lists of candidates and voters vote lists. Distribute
votes according to the proportion of votes on list, a certain number
of those on the list get seats.
-Two variaties to DISTRIBUTE votes:
a. THE LARGEST REMAINDER METHOD(remainder=catul)(used
in RO)

We have list A,B,C within a constituency. Total nr of votes 400 000. 8
A: 220 000 : 50 000=4 Remainders 20 000
B: 93 000 : 50 000=1 Remainders 43 000 1
C: 66 000 : 50 000=1 R: 16 000
D: 21 000 : 50 000=0 R: 21 000 1

First calculate the ELECTORA QUOTA(catul electoral)- 400 000:8 = 50

000(this is the minimum nr of votes required for a seat)
We divide the nr of votes gotten by each list to the quota.
A second distribution to those who have most votes. This case B and D.

a. THE HIGHEST AVERAGE METHOD.(media cea mai inalta)

The same until the second distribution.

Then one fictional seat is added to the seats already obtains.
Then a second division A 220 000 : 5
 List B gets one extra seat
Then the procedure is repeated for the last one

Advantages to PR:
-to get all votes.
-isolates extremist parties.
-encourages an ideological debate.
-encourages coalitions and fragmanted governments.
-difficulty in how the proportion of votes are rounded to match nr of
seats=> always lost votes.
In order to avoid a high nr of parties there is a treshold(prag
electoral)=minimum nr of votes for a party to have access to parliament


1. One Ballot.- in a constituency a winner takes it all.(UK-single
member constituency, one takes it). Encourages two party system.
Lots of votes are not represented.
2. Two Ballots- in RO for pres. And mayors(2 tururi de scrutin). If a
candidate gets 50%+1 (absolute maj) in a first round he gets the
seat. If not, there is a second round with the first 2 during the first
round.(in France used for parliamentary as well; candidates who do
not have 12.5% votes he is not qualified in a constituency.)
Leads to single party gov.

ROMANIA: combination of the 2 for parliamentary ellections.

Law 35/2008


LIJPHART: Lijphart

The magnitude of a constituency – the number of members who are to be

elected in a constituency. The higher the number of seats allotted to a
constituency, the higher the degree of representation. The higher
magnitude advantages smaller parties so in that sense the more
proportional the electoral formula is. All the votes are cast into one
constituency => optimum representation. The lower the magnitude//size
the less representative it is since theoretically perfect representation is
achieved if the number of votes equal the number of candidates.
Disproportional situation : single-member constituency with a majority
vote. In elections when there is a national constituency it is the most
proportional one in his view.
Where the president is elected by universal vote this has an indirect effect
on the number of political parties! Regimes that have a degree of
presidential tend to have fewer parties in Parliament because: since the
candidate person draws the party behind him!! Lijphart argues that in this
regimes disproportionality is higher : the difference between the
distribution of votes and the distribution of seats is higher. A number of
votes do not get to be translated into seats. This is how he classifies
political systems in terms of their producing different degrees of
disporportionality the best being the highest proportional regime. (p.32-35
preda pt sistemul romanesc)
Galagher’s index for disproportionality p.33 preda.