Compare and Explain the Political Instability Experienced by France, Germany and Italy

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"Compare and explain the political instability experienced by France, Germany and Italy"

In order to compare and explain the political instability experienced by the three countries in question it is important to assign a suitable model to the case. In this scenario Sartori's1 typology of party systems is perfect as all three of the countries fall into the category labelled polarised pluralistic party systems. Characteristics include five or more relevant parties, anti-system parties, bi-lateral oppositions, highly ideologically polarised parties with the political centre ground being occupied and a strong centrifugal force present. The system will also be ideologically over-heated and oppositions are usually irresponsible which leads
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Both the Italian First Republic and that of the French Fourth Republic commenced after the Second World War and so the Italian `civil war' and the despised Vichy Regime were still fresh in people's minds and political mistrust was rife. The German inter-war government the Weimar Republic was also fundamentally weak. The Armistice had been signed whilst German troops were undefeated in the field and many Germans believed that the political left were the November criminals inciting the stab in the back theory that exiled the left to the political wilderness. Coupled with the reparation payments harshly enforced by a bitter France the German economy was unstable to say the least, relying mainly on the Marshall Plan to soften the blow of reparations. Not only this but the very constitution undermined the new government granting reserve powers to the President that allowed him to dissolve the Reichstag, appoint and dismiss a Chancellor as well as the power of decree and full powers of emergency. So from this we are able to deduce that the origin of all three governments was fundamentally flawed.

Each of the three countries had a great number of small and diverse political parties vying for some kind of share in the power and each representing different cleavages. Obviously with the types of voting system that Italy, Germany and France had in place (that of proportional representation in one form or another) meant that a majority government was unlikely to be returned
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