This Database of Party Laws was created by Dr. Kenneth Janda of Northwestern University to research “Adopting Party Law,” a paper commissioned by NDI. The paper is part of NDI's Political Parties and Democracy in Theoretical and Practical Perspectives series, which examines the vital and inter-related topics of party law, party finance, intra-party democracy and communications.
Pleae note that the database was last updated in 2005, when "Adopting Party Law" was written. Therefore, some of its content may be out of date or incomplete.
The database is comprehensive, covering more than 150 polities worldwide, but it is far from exhaustive and includes only a portion of the world's party laws. Moreover, it is not representative in the statistical sense of being a probabilistic sample; its unrepresentative nature precludes definitive statements about party law across nations. Nevertheless, it does contain a large number of party laws, which permit illustrative, if not definitive, observations.
Laws came from resources at hand, primarily books and sources on the Internet. More laws in the database come from national constitutions than from any other source, which is due to the existence of a searchable Internet source of the world's constitutions translated into English. While there is a substantial fee to subscribe to the online service, the parent printed source is Albert P. Blaustein and Gisbert. H. Flanz (eds.), Constitutions of the Countries of the World (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana Publications, 1971).
The laws in the searchable database created for this study were identified by governmental origin and intended target. These laws were entered into the database using FileMaker Pro 7. The boxes hold pull-down menus that when clicked display various options for retrieving party laws. For example, under Political parties one can search for laws pertaining to definition, legal status, membership, organization, selecting candidates, activities, public subsidies, party finance, prohibited members, and history.
Those accessing the database need to know what counts as a party law—what has been entered into the database. Although every entry pertains to a legal regulation that affects party politics, the entries vary widely in length and detail. Additionally, please note that the database was last updated in 2005, when Dr. Janda's "Adopting Party Law" was written. Therefore, some of its content may be out of date or incomplete.
To access Dr. Janda's findings, please see his paper on “Adopting Party Law.”
To learn more about NDI's research series on political parties, please click here.
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