The Regulation of Political Competition Revisited

Prof. Karl H. Nassmacher
Ms. Danielle May
Dr. Manuela Blumenberg

The paper will start from the observation that the Lipset-Rokkan model of four cleavages which structure the national party system all over Western Europe is no longer applicable. Due to greater openness for new cleavages new parties have spread across the established European Democracies.
The paper examines the institutions that channel new social cleavages into more recently diversified party systems. It will discuss and explore in depth the major rules that govern party competition. These are the electoral system, the political finance regime, and laws which may regulate nomination procedure, ballot access, means to separate serious from frivolous candidates, parties' legal status as well as media access for campaign advertising.
A modern political finance regime will include rules for access to and distribution of public subsidies (grants, in-kind services and tax benefits) for political parties, rules for the transparency of party funding as well as for the disclosure of donations, rules against corrupt and illegal practices, e.g. bans and limits. Additional regulatory areas that deserve to be covered are the legal status of political parties and the access for campaign purposes to private and public advertising media.