A Comparison of Political Elites’ Circulation in Central and Western European Parliaments in the 1993–2003 Period

No.4(2005)

Abstract
This study is based on a comparative analysis of political elites’ circulation in six countries – Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Finland, the Netherlands and Great Britain during the 1993–2003 period. For the purposes of the comparison, in each case study the members of parliament or the lower chamber are chosen as a representative sample of the political elites. The comparative analysis assesses the correctness of the following hypothesis: The type of elites and their circulation is interrelated with the type of political system. The study is methodologically based on the modern theory of elites and its hypothesis that every type of political system is tightly connected with the type of political elites that exist within it, and that every type of political elites can be distinguished by a specific type of circulation. Thus, by measuring the circulation of political elites we can infer the type of political elites and even the type of political regime. This study assesses the circulation of parliamentary representatives in the six selected countries during the 1993–2003 period and finds out that in the Central European states the figures are clearly distinctive from the respective figures in the Western European states, thus confirming the original hypothesis.

Keywords:
circulation of elites; political elites; Central Europe; Western Europe; democratic consolidation; parliaments
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