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This is an analysis of the changing pressures and demands placed on party systems in 11 countries in Western Europe since 1945. This book includes studies of the party system in Britain, France, Italy and Germany, as well as studies of Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Sweden, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands. Five major themes are examined in each chapter. First, the broad development of the party system is accompanied by a discussion of how different party system typologies have been applied to each country. Secondly, a detailed discussion of the historical background to party system developments is provided, dealing with the main divisions derived from the typology of Lipset and Rokkan. Thirdly, the most important contextual variables are considered in terms of the electoral environment within which the party system operates. Next, consideration is given to the degree of unfreezing of the party system since 1945 and the changing balance between stability and change. Finally, major questions of change and adaptation are examined, updating the text.