The relationship between the institutionalization of political parties and democratic consolidation
Kovalenko A. A. The relationship between the institutionalization of political parties and democratic consolidation
Relation between the party institutionalization and democratic consolidation for a long time is being at the focus of political scientists. The most common is the view that, given the importance of political parties for the effective functioning of democratic institutions, their institutionalization is an important catalyst for democratic consolidation.
The degree of party institutionalization can be assessed on two main criteria: 1) their organizational development and 2) the strength of relations with civil society. The organizational dimension focuses primarily on quantitative indicators: number of members; the representation of parties in all administrative units of the country;
available financial resources.
Rootedness of political parties in society is defined by the election results (the size of the nucleus of loyal supporters of parties that consistently vote for it, volatility of electoral preferences of citizens that assess the ability of parties to represent their interests and consistently implement their election programs), and the opinion polls, which reveal the degree of party identification of citizens and their confidence in the political parties as such.
Party identification shows how voters identify with a particular party, it is a kind of expression of public communication with the party that is still seen as a central element of a democratic regime. The level of trust in political parties shows the strength of their relationship with the electorate, their effectiveness in the legislative and executive authorities.
In Ukraine the process of party institutionalization is not yet complete. This is evidenced by the low level of trust in them, which in the past five years ranges from 11-20%. It also a low level of Ukrainian membership in political parties. Ukrainian parties poorly perform representative function: only 23% of Ukrainian believes, that the political parties are one that protects their interests. The current bipolar party system is represented on the one hand pro-European coalition, and on the other by Oppozition block. The party system of Ukraine keeps the features of the system of moderate pluralism and has not yet entered steady look.
The Revolution of dignity gives grounds to say that Ukraine embarked on the path of democratic consolidation: the citizens and political forces reached a consensus on the importance of democratic institutions and the necessity of strengthening the European way of development. Thus, the process of democratic consolidation was made possible by weak institutionalization of political parties. The lack of strong «parties of power», as it was in the case in Russia or even Turkey, prevented the strengthening of authoritarian tendencies, weakening opposition forces, reducing pluralism in the political system.
Keywords: political party democratization, consolidation, institutionalization.