The Logic of Multiparty Systems

Volume 17 of the series International Studies in Economics and Econometrics pp 153-172


  • Jan-Erik Lane
  • , Svante ErssonAffiliated withUniversity of Umea

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Multipartism as a basic feature of the party systems of European democracies is an undeniable fact, but there is serious disagreement among scholars about the implications of multipartism for political stability. Although none of the West European polities could be described as a strict two-party system, there is at the same time considerable variation within the set of multiparty systems. What are the implications of multipartism for political stability? According to one often repeated argument, the variation in multipartism is accompanied by a variation in political stability as multipartism is considered a major cause of political instability. The opposite argument is to deny that multipartism is conducive to political stability.