Democratisation and the Illegalisation of Political Parties in Europe

Authors: Angela K. Bourne | Published in: working paper series on the legal regulation of political parties, no. 07, February. | Date of publication: 2011


This article explores theoretical explanations for the proscription of political parties in democratisating states. A survey of twenty-two party bans in twelve European states identifies two distinct classes of proscription derived from the ‘degree of democratisation' present in a banning state. Drawing on the democratisation literature, I identify features of ‘new' and ‘incomplete' democracies that help explain proscription. Case studies on Germany, Austria, Russia, Latvia and Greece illustrate the impact of ‘modes of transition', heightened uncertainty, political tensions and instability on ‘new democracy bans', and the impact of illiberalism, limited checks on executive power and circumscribed political participation on ‘incomplete democracy bans'.

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