An Internalist Perspective on Party Consolidation and the Bulgarian Union of Democratic Forces
Scholars have traditionally held political parties to be indispensable to democracy, and recent studies of democratic consolidation have reaffirmed their importance. Yet analysis of the development of political parties in Eastern Europe and elsewhere has tended to understate the role of internal, organizational factors at the expense of external factors, such as the selection effect of electoral markets and presence of societal cleavages. We argue that creating effective governance and bargaining mechanisms inside party organizations are more important for institutionalizing parties than external pressures. We draw support for this thesis from an analysis of the Bulgarian Union of Democratic Forces, which after a series of internal splits and subsequent rounds of restructuring, moved from a loose umbrella formation toward an institutionalized party.
European Journal of Political Research