Are bans on political parties bound to turn out badly? A comparative investigation of three 'intolerant' democracies: Turkey, Spain, and Belgium

Bale, Tim (2007) Are bans on political parties bound to turn out badly? A comparative investigation of three 'intolerant' democracies: Turkey, Spain, and Belgium. Comparative European Politics, 5 (2). pp. 141-157. ISSN 1472-4790

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The banning of particular political parties in democratic states is commonly opposed not just on philosophical grounds but also with the practical argument that bans will prove pointless, counterproductive or endanger hard-won achievements. This paper questions that common wisdom — summed up in Hirschman's perversity, futility and jeopardy theses. It conducts a comparative empirical investigation of the consequences of recent bans on 'extremist' parties in three self-styled European democracies — Turkey, Spain and Belgium. It finds that those consequences were not as dire as predicted. This suggests that banning such parties, while by no means always the only or the right thing to do, is not necessarily a mistake, at least on practical rather than normative grounds.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article grew out of a paper produced for a 2005 ECPR workshop led by Dick Katz and Ingrid van Biezen (now the author's co-editor on the Political Data Yearbook of the European Journal of Political Research), which aimed to bring together work on political parties and work on representative democracy. The original version contained more cases (eg Germany) and was more normative in emphasis but, after characteristically useful feedback at the Joint Sessions, it was stripped down to a much more direct, empirical - and very policy relevant - question that no-one has attempted to answer before now. This honing process seems to have paid dividends: the editor of the journal remarked in an email indicating acceptance `how rare it is to get three referees giving such praise for an article.' Given this, given the fact that it employs a framework developed by the creator of `exit, voice, and loyalty', and given the fact that it is one of the few studies to treat Turkey not as sui generis but as a comparable case, it should be widely cited.
Keywords: political parties, ban, democracy, Hirschman, Turkey, Spain, Belgium
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General) > JF0020 General. Comparative government
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN6101 Belgium
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN8101 Spain
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions and public administration (Asia, Africa, Australia, Pacific Area, etc.) > JQ0021 Asia > JQ1758 Middle East Including Turkey, Iran, Israel, Arabian Peninsula
Depositing User: Tim Bale
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:24
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2012 14:34
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