A Law Unto Themselves: Money, Regulation and the Development of Party Politics in the Czech Republic

Authors: Tim Haughton | Published in: working paper series on the legal regulation of political parties, no. 20, May. | Date of publication: 2012

If there is one thing all pundits seem to agree on it is that money matters in politics. Without money it is difficult to do much politically. Both running an organization and campaigning require resources. Moreover, political parties in democracies function in systems with frameworks of laws and regulations. Even those who like to downplay the importance of institutional frameworks recognize that at the very least such laws and regulations provide guiding lights and reference points for parties. Parties may seek to circumvent and bend rules which they see as limiting their behaviour and room for maneuver, but their actions are shaped, at least in part, by the existence of such rules. Acknowledging that money, laws and regulation matter in politics, however, merely provokes another set of questions. Both money and party laws may matter, but they are clearly not the only determinants of politics. Even in the money saturated world of American presidential politics money cannot buy you everything. Hence we are prompted to ask how, when and where does money matter in politics and what role does it play? Moreover, money can come from a variety of sources in part due to laws proscribing, limiting or facilitating the use of specific channels. But what impact do these different sources have on parties and the party systems in which they operate? Furthermore, how significant are party laws in shaping party politics? In addition, to what extent do money and party laws play a different role in newer democracies as opposed to those of the longer-established variety?

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