State Intervention in Party Politics: The Public Funding and Regulation of Political Parties

Authors: Ingrid van Biezen | Published in: European Review 16/3 (2008), pp. 337-353 *Reprinted in Keith Ewing, Jacob Rowbottom and Joo-Cheong Tham (eds.), The Funding of Political Parties. London: Routledge (2011), pp. 191-205. | Date of publication: 2008


This article is concerned with a closer investigation of the growing tendency for the state to intervene in contemporary party politics. It examines two trends. First of all, it looks more closely at the increased levels of regulation of party activity and behaviour in European democracies, discussing the empirical practice as well as the underlying normative paradigms of party regulation. Secondly, it examines the increased availability of public funding to political parties from a comparative perspective, while also exploring the motivations for its introduction in light of particular understandings of party democracy. It is argued that both dimensions constitute part of the way in which parties have strengthened their linkages with the state in recent years, and that parties as a result of the increased involvement of the state in their internal affairs and external behaviour have become increasingly defined as public utilities or semi-state agencies.

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