Contested Legitimacy. Paradoxes in the Legal Regulation of Political Parties

Authors: Ingrid van Biezen and Ekaterina R. Rashkova (eds.) | Published in: Special issue of the International Political Science Review, vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 265-274 | Date of publication: 2014


Recent waves of social protests have brought a renewed interest in the notion of political legitimacy. The increasing adoption of party regulation as a means to secure legitimacy, however, leads to several paradoxes. One such paradox is the fact that those who establish the rules about political parties are representatives of the political parties themselves. Despite this existing contention, the relationship between political legitimacy and party regulation has received little scholarly attention. Addressing this relationship, our special issue brings together articles that seek to answer questions about the potential and actual effects of legal rules. Drawing on rich empirical evidence, the underlying message of the contributions is that while rules are important, they do not give the whole story. After presenting the research included in the volume, we emphasise that regulation in itself does not necessarily promote political legitimacy. Therefore the adoption of additional rules, whether to constrain or liberate party behaviour, is not sufficient to legitimise those in power. Rather, we argue that the more important factor to consider is that of implementation.

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