About Us



INSTAPARTY is funded by the Norwegian Research Council, project no 325141

Elected representatives are widely expected to remain affiliated with the political parties that got them elected. However, party switching in parliaments is common, if not endemic, in many established and young democracies. By changing their affiliation, elected representatives create party instability: new parties form, existing parties dissolve, and the size of parties in parliament changes. Party instability may have important effects on election and government formation outcomes, public policy and voter representation.

INSTAPARTY examines party instability in parliaments in European democracies. It has three objectives: to map out diverse forms of instability, to explain why instability occurs, and to understand whether and how instability affects voter support of parties. The project aims to provide detailed information about each instance of party switching in eight European countries (Estonia, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Romania) and will establish the Observatory of Parliamentary Party Switches (OPPS) that records ongoing instability in a wider range of countries.

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INSTAPARTY research team is led by PI Raimondas Ibenskas (Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen) and co-PIs Sona Golder (Department of Political Science, Pennsylvania State University) and Allan Sikk (School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London). The project team also includes post-doctoral researcher Paulina Salek-Lipcean (Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen).