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Paths and Places of Party Formation: The Post-Unification Development of Germany's Christian Democratic Union

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Maps of electoral results across the Federal Republic of Germany show remarkable stability over the postwar period. While historical social cleavages are the foundation of western Germany’s stable electoral geography, in the five eastern states crucial events in 1989 and 1990, largely independent of social structural factors, established particular trajectories of party formation that shaped parties’ electoral success. Drawing on interviews with political elites and archival documents, I use a critical juncture analysis approach to explain the temporally and spatially contingent nature of party formation processes in eastern Germany after 1989. This analysis shifts debates about party formation from the questions of when and why, to how and where parties form, while also explaining the origin and persistence of territorialized party systems.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2016

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  • Comparative Politics is an international journal that publishes scholarly articles devoted to the comparative analysis of political institutions and behavior. It was founded in 1968 to further the development of comparative political theory and the application of comparative theoretical analysis to the empirical investigation of political issues. Comparative Politics communicates new ideas and research findings to social scientists, scholars, and students, and is valued by experts in research organizations, foundations, and consulates throughout the world.
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