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The functions of political parties: In party theory and in Malawi

Lars Svåsand
Universitetet i Bergen
Lars Svåsand
Universitetet i Bergen
Open Panel

Abstract

The functions of political parties: In party theory and in Malawi Political parties are generally to considered to be vital elements in a democracy because they perform certain ''functions'' that are either needed for a democracy to work or because parties perform such functions better than other political actors. The paper reviews the literature on what the party literature has to say about the ''functions of political parties'' and how well these functions are performed in established democracies. I then discuss the prerequisites for carrying out these functions in the political, social and economic contexts of Malawi to examine Malawian parties ability to function as we expect from the standard theory. I also discuss alternative functions that Malawian parties may have that are usually not part of the ''standard'' interpretation of party functions.