Political Parties Are Necessary For Democracy Essay

Political Parties Are Necessary For Democracy Essay

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Many political pundits accept that political parties are necessary ingredients of democratic governance. Within this framework, many scholars agree that political parties are the principal agents of democratic consolidation because they are the key players shaping democracy’s emergence (Pridham, 1990: 29). Similarly, “party system institutionalization has been widely viewed as a requisite for the consolidation of democracy” (Kuenzi and Lambright, 2005: 423). However, scholars disagree on the effects of different party system characteristics on democracy. For example, some scholars contend that multiparty system increase the quality of democracy in a country by enhancing the representation of different groups, and by increasing the choices before voters. On the other side, some scholars argue that multiparty system undermine governmental accountability, and diminish the clarity of choices before voters. I hope to contribute to this debate by reporting the results of my study on the relationship between party system institutionalization and the level of democracy in Pakistan.
In the last decade or so Pakistan experienced an intense period of political change and democratization. From 2008 to 2013, civilian control over the military elite was increased and the rights of people were expanded. During this time period, first time in Pakistan’s 68 years of history, a democratically elected government completed its term and handed power to another democratically elected government (Buncombe and Waraich, 2013). This was an outstanding development and is considered a significant step towards democratizing political regime in Pakistan. This paper examines, what explains the shifting of power from one democratically elected gove...

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...system institutionalization is useful in comparing differing levels of institutionalization within third wave democracies, and between them and Western democracies. Moreover, they claim that party system institutionalization has important implications for the nature of democracy and in the process of democratic consolidation.
Using Mainwaring and Scully (2005) four conditions for party system institutionalization, I examine the party system institutionalization in Pakistan pre and post 2008. However, I do not use the acceptance of elections as party system measure because “acceptance of elections is nearly synonymous with the definition of the consolidation of democracy” (Kuenzi and Lambright, 2005: 429). Table 1 and 2 show the election results of 2002, 2008 and 2013. Using this data, party system institutionalization is calculated between 2002-2008 and 2008-2013.

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