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Global Politics

Duverger’s Law and Structure of Party Politics in Contemporary Democracies


Maurice Duverger law in the political science contains plurality rule polls along with the structured and single-member district, which frequently support the two-party system. In contrast to two-party system multipartyism support and favour for the ballot majority system and comparable representation. Maurice has thorough research on the effects and implications of such kind of political systems. His investigation compel other scientist to consider those effects as the law or the basic principle for the political system. The researchers and scientist of the political science have receive number of influences of the law over typology of the party system. In the same way, centripetal competition among the parties is the need for politicians to capture the median voters. The existence of the central party provides for the centrifugal party competition. Those parties that are seeking for the office have to become centrist course.


The law of the Duverger comes from the proper model of the causality from the electoral to the party system. A comparable or the proportional representation provides for the enhancement of the electoral conditions, which ultimately increase the development of many parties. However, the phenomena of the plurality system of the parties lead to the marginalization of small political parties. Suck kind of system resulted in the creation of the two-party system (Raymond, 2015). Those democratic states having plurality system contain more than two political parties. The United States in this regard is focused on two parties, which are the Democrats and the Republicans. Other countries like the India, Pakistan, Canada and the United Kingdom operating under the multiparty parliamentary systems. Two political analyst Eric Dickson and the Ken Scheve while countering the Duverger law hold that national level plurality system enhance the concept of the two parties.

However, in the individual constituencies increase majorities are often lead to the fluctuation of the votes. Students and the scientist of politics are characterising the systems of the parties until the time they involve in researching and studying the parties system. The type and the number of political parties affect the formation of the government along with the preferences and choices of the voters (Bäck, 2017). They also influence the choices and legislative programs of the executives elected through their respective political party. It is same like that of a blood pressure or the rate of heart beats for how the liberal or authoritarian government allow their parties to contest elections in different countries. The typology of the political parties and their system used in the present times dates back to the decade of nineteen fifty to sixty.

Development of the typologies with the passage of time is not a surprise. In the times of nineteen fifty, the scope of comparative politics widened significantly. The scientist of the politics serves their attention towards broader and liberal democracies along with the multiparty system. They have neglected the generalization of the limited knowledge of the democracies operating in France, Britain, and Germany. Majority of these scientists have done excellent work to include the question regarding multipartyism, which significantly fed the political instability. In the same way research on the smaller democracies have broadened and created the new style of thinking.

Among those political scientists, Satori was one of the influential and sensible political thinkers. The typology of the Satori’s in nineteen seventy-six brought development in describing the moderate versus polarised pluralism. He came up with the ideas that drawing a line between, two-party, one or multiparty competition is very crude to explain the differences among the party system. Those counted parties can easily make differences between the party systems. Satori has also established certain rules in order to inform the practitioners that which party they should count or which they should not. He concluded his phenomena of the typology by the numbers, which are meant for the polarization of the party competition. By this, the mechanics of the political system became centrifugal or centripetal.

The ideas and the thoughts propounded by the Satori’s have considerable worth. They are useful for the contemporary party system. He has the most lone shelf life, and his political thoughts influence many writers. His work contributed to the important puzzle, which was the instability of cabinet and the system through the multiparty system of government. He distinguishes high-polarised system of the parties from other types of the multipartyism (Caramani, 2017). The approach of the scientist remains influential in the present times, as he has focused on the party system and the competition among the different political parties to acquire the government. However, regarding the style of distinction Dahl’s have applied direct distinctions for the formulation of governments. How parties relate to each other is also the concept of Satori. In addressing such issues, he focused on the central facets of party systems.

The central competition among the parties conventionally associated with the influencing and capturing the median voters. The presence of the central parties in the system of two parties often leads to the centrifugal party competition. In the same way, the existence of pivotal party provides the competition among centripetal political parties (Colomer, 2002). The central or the overriding party is strong enough to form the majority in electoral terms that creating any powerful group against the party will seem as unrealistic. The power and the force holding the respective party is so high that left and rightist parties through coalition could form a government. This if done will be the implosion of the political party system.

The system of electorates with the extensive magnitude of its districts provides for the parties to enhance their role in taking extreme policy positions. For example, the national association of the municipalities which was powerful player of the politics other than its centralised competitors have proposed an alliance with the teachers and stop the implications of the famous voucher scheme (Ignazi, 2017). The central party, however, manage to deal with the situation but fail in suppressing those people and agitators that have to challenge the policy of voucher scheme in the Netherlands. The political parties are the important and effective element of the democracies. However, the number, refection and the function of each political party have certain variations. Regarding the competition among the centripetal parties, it is said that they are highly persuasive for their power and to influence the thoughts and popularity of their opposing political party.

Satori has also discussed the issues of the competition and characteristics of centripetal political parties in a slightly altered approach. However, the primary motive and the elements of Satori’s explanation political system was not the competition among the parties but the directives and goals of a central political party. Quarrels between the parties are often due to the ideological differences and violation of one towards the other. The phenomena of the satori are largely concerned with the polity and the nature of successes that is mostly determine the kind of competition. Distinctions and the differences in this regard made by him among the centripetal and the centrifugal drives.

In the centripetal drives, the nature of the competition is to pull towards the centre of the political activity. In the second form, the central spectrum became weak because of the movements of voters towards the extreme. Some parties while taking incentives of the situation challenge the policies at an extreme level. Describing suck kind of the situation Satori collaborate ideas with the fragmentations of the parties. Here are the four categories of the political parties being propounded by him are Polarized multi-party, segmented multiparty, two-party and the moderate political party. In many states, it happens that degree of the autonomy ensured through the devolved structures demonstrate the system of centripetal forces and their actions (La Palombara, 2015). The central governments mostly claim that it is enough, however, the regions or the regional political parties often break away the position be arguing against the decisions and policies of the centre.

The common characteristics of the political landscape in the United Kingdom and Spain are the persistence of conservatives those having governments in the centre. Along with the centre malaise, political parties and members in the opposition contributed to the same purpose of differences with the central political parties. In the succession of the region, the SNP and the socialist party of Catalonia have the pro-independence stance to which the central parties are not giving considerable attention. Other than the consideration of the politics, the primary factor against the succession and breakaway the relations among the regions within the European Union.

Regarding the sophistication of the legal status of those regions comes under breakaway is not an argument propounded by the central political parties to manage the status quo. Other than the problems and issues of the European Union, people in the region are fearful that there is increase rise of nationalistic thoughts among the political parties, which lead to the centripetal competition (Martin, 2018). In the same way, the centrifugal thoughts are there in the two states of the Europe Catalonia and Spain. There is a devolved power structure and there are four assemblies. The Scottish parliament, assembly of the Northern Ireland, Assembly of London and the Assembly of Wales. The political parties of Scotland can make laws in the so-called devolve power political setup. However, the nationalist parties have the privilege of enjoying the majority rule and playing their decisive role in the political landscape. The national party of Scotland hold the majority of the power.

The SNP is the third largest European political party with the most influential political actor inside Scotland. The party came in two thousand twelve with the winning of around thirty-five percent votes. The labour party have thirty-two percent votes with the close margin alongside the SNP. The SNP is consistently arguing for the succession of Scotland for the United Kingdom. The stance and the policy of SNP reveal that nationalist parties are increasing in the UK. The political atmosphere for the independence is enhancing and the important questions are there that who will decide the issues and matters related to Scotland and Catalonia. Central and the regional political parties are highly concerned with the power and their due role (Rich, 2015). The centrifugal forces are also there to defend the stance of not providing independence to the states attached to the UK. However, with the movement of voters increased towards the SNP political party then central parties are left with no other option to give independence to these two states. The centrifugal drivers are active at such time when centre became weak and it has no control the power and extreme level of voters regarding respective stance. Similarly, in any political setup or the system, there is need of counting and measuring the number of political parties.

The measurement and the counting of the political parties have significant influence over the research of political science. Generally, the measurement and calculating the number of parties are associated with the prevailing position of economics (Müller, 2003). The economic condition of the state or international economics has high influence over the parties operating in any state or the region. The grouping and the formation of new political parties became very easy in the twenty-first century. The organized system of networks and the relation through social and digital media have lessened the barriers that hinder the creation of ideological groups. Parties are multiplying in the post-modern era. Citizens are looking for best groups that could meet and satisfy their needs. They also analyse the parties those can match the beliefs of the people. As an activity, it is not only good but also increase the engagements.

Many states have the system of proportional representation and those countries are striving for more parties like America and Britain. These countries also have the higher turnout of the voter than that of those states that have fewer parties. However, such excessive grouping and parties have serious drawbacks. According to the studies of ‘The Economist’ with the subdivision of parties, countries become harder to rule. Other than big parties small group have the loose disciple, which became a financial burden on the states. Coalition in the excessive parties is also difficult and governing parties try to include those strangers that are not experienced in political and leadership skills. The case of different states reveals that how parties should be count in any political system.  In Greece far-left Syzira party rule with the coalition of far-right independent Greeks party.

In the states of Denmark central government requires the support of liberal alliance, which wanted to cut social spending other parties wants to raise those spending. Increase parties take time to form government certain distracting politicians create the number of hurdles information of the rule. These types of oddballs pairing cannot have decisive acts and mostly fall before the formulation of respective government (Schmitt, 2014). The people always paid the loss enumerated through non-serious alliances of the excessive political parties. Political parties are therefore counted through the population, economic condition, and the power level of the state. Other than the counting of parties, there is the considerable effect of those parties on the policies of the state.

The increase or the decreasing number of political parties are affecting the business of state and the policies directly and indirectly. The most important example in this regard is the state of Spain, which has increased parties from two to four. Increase in the political parties has left Spain with no government from last two years. The citizens have increase choices regarding votes but they have to face the year of caretaker setup along with undue expenses. The smaller group are mostly influenced by seizing the control of policy circles. In Israel, smaller parties like tiny-right wings parties have written the principles for west bank settlements. In the state of Brazil, clever politician forms more parties for public subsidies and demand increase goodies to an alliance for the government. Political parties play the role of the intermediaries between the state and the people and making complex policies in a simpler way.


Concluding the detail discussion the law of the Duverger provides two party system along with the structure of the district that possesses single members. The law favour the political system that contains two-party systems. The writings and the principles of the Duverger have convinced the political scientist to name those rules as the law, which shows the effectiveness and the worth of his work. However, centripetal and the centrifugal forces have the significant role in the development or the destruction of any political system operating in any state. In the same way, there must be limited and organize political parties which could play the effective and useful role in the progress of the nation. The number of the political parties have the considerable effect on the policies of the state.


Bäck, H., Müller, W.C. and Nyblade, B., 2017. Multiparty government and economic policy-making. Public Choice170(1-2), pp.33-62.

Caramani, D. ed., 2017. Comparative politics. Oxford University Press.

Colomer, J.M. ed., 2002. Political institutions in Europe. Psychology Press.

Ignazi, P., 2017. Sartori’s party system typology and the Italian case: the unanticipated outcome of a polarised pluralism without anti-system parties. Contemporary Italian Politics9(3), pp.262-276.

La Palombara, J. and Weiner, M., 2015. Political Parties and Political Development.(SPD-6). Princeton University Press.

Martin, S., 2018. Electoral Systems and Legislative Organization. The Oxford Handbook of Electoral Systems, p.303.

Müller, W.C. and Strom, K. eds., 2003. Coalition governments in western Europe. Oxford University Press on Demand.

Przeworski, A., 2000. Democracy and development: Political institutions and well-being in the world, 1950-1990 (Vol. 3). Cambridge University Press.

Raymond, C.D., 2015. In defiance of Duverger: The class cleavage and the emergence of district-level multiparty systems in western Europe. Research & Politics2(1), p.2053168014567557.

Rich, T.S., 2015. Duverger’s Law in mixed legislative systems: The impact of national electoral rules on district competition. European Journal of Political Research54(1), pp.182-196.

Schmitt, J., 2014. A microfoundation of centrifugal dynamics in party systems. In ECPR graduate conference–working paper.



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