The New Party Challenge

Our new book, The New Party Challenge: Changing Cycles of Party Birth and Death in Central Europe and Beyond is now available from Oxford University Press.

Why do some parties live fast and die young, but other endure? And why are some party systems more stable than others? Based on a blend of data derived from both qualitative and quantitative sources, The New Party Challenge develops new tools for mapping and measuring party systems, and develops conceptual frameworks to analyse the dynamics of party politics, particularly the birth and death of parties. In addition to highlighting the importance of agency and choice in explaining the fate of parties, the book underlines the salience of the clean versus corrupt dimension of politics, charts the flow of voters in the new party subsystem, and emphasizes the dimension of time and its role in shaping developments. The New Party Challenge not only provides the first systematic book length study of political parties across Central Europe in the three decades since the 1989 revolutions, charting and explaining the patterns of politics in that region, it also highlights that similar processes are at play on a far wider geographical canvas. The book concludes by reflecting on what the dynamics of party politics, especially the emergence of so many new parties, means for the health and quality of democracy, and what could and should be done.

The New Party Challenge provides a deeply original insight into the birth and death of political parties. Deegan-Krause and Haughton use their comprehensive examination of party politics across Central Europe during the decades since the end of communism as a mould for understanding how agency, timing, and structure interact to shape the fate of political parties. This book is comparative politics at its finest and has the making of a classic. “

Catherine E. De Vries, Professor of Political Science, Bocconi University

In this important book, Tim Haughton and Kevin Deegan-Krause address a puzzle regarding volatility in the supply of and demand for political parties in Central Europe – why do so many parties fail but a few succeed? They address their puzzle in an appropriately complex way but in a lively style that makes for enjoyable as well as convincing reading. The book should not only be required reading for all scholars and students of post-Communist politics but for studies of parties and party systems in many other regions of the globe. “

Stephen Whitefield, Professor of Politics, University of Oxford