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Constitutionalising political parties in Britain.

Kim, Jongcheol (1998) Constitutionalising political parties in Britain. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

Although Britain has developed a reasonably successful model of party democracy, there is little legal recognition of political parties in the constitutional order. My hypothesis is that the legal status of political parties relates to deep-seated political and social theories subsisting in British society. Britain's self-regulating political parties still adhere to the liberal theory of parliamentary democracy. However, there is increasing dissatisfaction with this status quo, which tends to ignore the pluralist reality. Therefore, demands are now being made for the creation of a new theory of democracy and for a range of constitutional reforms which such a theory requires. I propose to adopt a model of double democratisation which implies a refocusing of the liberal distinction between state and society. This model develops an equilibrium between state and society within a constitutional framework which can be called 'constitutionalised democratic autonomy'. I seek to argue that all agencies of power should be regulated within a constitutional framework which allows public scrutiny of the political system as a whole while affording, on the one hand, the greatest measure of freedom to civil society and, on the other, parity of autonomy to the state. The fact that political parties now play a powerful role within the state adds additional urgency to the task of reformulating the democratic agenda. In connecting a new perspective on political parties to the reformulated theory of democracy, the dual relationship of political parties to the state and civil society, i.e., their character both as a social sphere and as a political sphere, will be stressed. Based on these theoretical arguments, this dissertation critically analyses British law relating to political parties and maintains that there is a need for the legal institutionalisation of political parties. It discusses various possibilities for the constitutionalisation of political parties, which are envisaged to encourage in a balanced way inter- and intra-party democracy. This constitutionalisation will require, inter alia, (a) intra-party democracy, (b) electoral reform and (c) the juridification of the financial affairs of political parties. This dissertation concludes that the constitutionalisation of political parties is part and parcel of the modernisation of the British political system in the direction of correcting a divergence between the pluralist reality and the liberal constitutional ideal.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, General
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/1510

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