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How party systems Form: The Institutional, Historical and Strategic Foundations of the Post-War ... - page 21 / 42





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employed to accentuate their early advantages. We also have study remaining smaller parties to understand how they failed to use coordination strategies to mitigate their early disadvantages. Germany politicians used four coordination strategies after 1949: strategy entry, electoral engineering, party switching and formation of electoral coalitions.

Strategic Entry: Strategies to coordinate the entries of new candidates or parties significantly affect strategic voting as it shapes shape pre-electoral expectations about the entrants’ electoral viability. Parties employ three entry strategies. First, they reduce the supply of their candidates through party-internal candidate recruitment regulations. Such regulations seek to prevent vote splitting among similarly minded voters by offering them a single, party-endorsed candidate. (Cox 1997, 157-60; Ranney 1968) Second, party laws oftentimes restrict the supply of parties to the extent that they require formidable signature or membership requirements, the more they will increase the entry costs and thus limit the number of electoral entrants. (Birnir 2004, 4-14) Third, party laws in mnay post-authoritarian democracies contain democratic litmus tests which permit banning of entire parties or individual politicians. (Kieran, Fowler, and Szczerbiak 2005; Norris 2005, 83-95) The more restrictive such litmus tests are and the more discretion elected politicians, as opposed to less partisan constitutional courts, have in enforcing them, the more likely they will constrain the entries of new parties. At this point readers might ask at this point in what ways party laws differ from the aforementioned party licensing. The two strategies are identical in that they seek to control the number of entrants, but they differ in that they involve different actors. As licensing agents, the Allies commanded different resources than regular parties and also had very different goals than regular parties; I therefore treat them as historical factor rather than a coordination strategy.

Of these three strategies, only party laws in form of party bans were employed in post-war Germany. Banning of parties or former Nazis barely influenced strategic voting. The Allies’ de-Nazifization program effectively barred all medium to high ranking Nazi officials from running for public office. (Edinger 1960, 64-68) Moreover, the post-war constitution permitted the Constitutional Court to ban extremist or anti-democratic parties. The Court did so on two occasions, banning the neo-Nazi SRP in 1952 and the KPD in 1956.  These bans did not affect voters’ strategic voting since the two parties

Party Switching3/12/2007p.

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