Theory of Anti-System Parties


The article discusses the definition and typology of anti-system parties. It is based on the classical definition by Giovanni Sartori, which is in my opinion not obsolete. On the contrary it is still very usable, but under the condition that we stay on the ground of party theory and party systems, and not transfer it to the field of democratic theory. The next part of the text focuses on Giovanni Capoccia’s attempt in 2002 to modify Sartori’s theory and create a new typology of anti-system parties is very interesting but not very progressive. It seems that Capoccia makes the same, or at least very similar, propositions as Sartori. I think we should call “anti-system” only those parties which conform to Sartori’s rigorous definition. The parties conforming to Sartori’s wide definition should not be named “anti-system” but rather “extreme”. So, we have two separate categories of opposition parties: 1) anti-system, and 2) extreme. The first one is ideological opposition against the political system. The second is simply extreme, radical opposition against the government, or at the most, against some part of the political system, but not against the system as a whole. The second main proposition of the article concerns the problem of a typology of anti-system parties. According to the view mentioned above and based on Capoccia’s typology, I have created a modified typology. It correlates two parameters, ideological and relational. The result is five types of parties: anti-system parties, extreme parties, irrelevant anti-system parties, camouflaged anti-system parties, and pro-system parties.

Anti-System Party; Anti-Systemness; Giovanni Sartori; Giovanni Capoccia




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