Fernando  Casal Bertoa Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Fernando Casal Bertoa

Assistant Professor
University of Nottingham

Fernando Casal Bértoa is Assistant Professor in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham (United Kingdom). He is the Director of the Party Systems and Governments Observatory (whogoverns.eu). His work has been published in European Journal of Political Research, Sociological Methods and Research, West European Politics, Party Politics, Democratization, European Constitutional Law Review, Political Studies Review, Government and Opposition, among others.

Subjects: Law


I spent most of my youth in Galicia (Spain). I was born in Santiago de Compostela and lived with my parents in Villagarcía de Arosa until 1994. Afterwards I moved to Pamplona where I studied Law at the University of Navarra. After specializing in Civil and Commercial Law, I went to Salamanca in 2002 in order to study Political Science. As an Erasmus student I moved to Cracow (Poland) in 2003. A year later, and thanks to the financial support of Fundación Cajamadrid, I started an MA in Central and Eastern European Studies at the Centre for European Studies at Jagiellonian University. My dissertation there focused on the development of the Polish party system since 1991. After graduating with honours (magna cum laude) in 2006, I was recruited by Prof. Peter Mair (R.I.P.) to do my PhD. at the European University Institute in Florence (Italy). Defended in June 2011, my doctoral thesis focused on the institutionalization of East Central European party systems. From September 2010 I worked as a Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Leiden. There I had the opportunity to contribute to Prof. Ingrid van Biezen´s large-scale research project on “The Legal Regulation of Political Parties in Europe” (funded by the European Research Council). Three years later I moved to the University of Nottingham (UK), where I became a Nottingham Research Fellow. Since October 2016 I am an assistant professor at the School of Politics and International Relations. Co-founder and co-chair of the Council for European Studies’ (CES) “Political Parties, Party Systems and Elections” Research Network, I also collaborate with the OSCE/ODHIR as an expert in political party regulation. Currently, I am also Research theme director of the Nottingham Institute for Comparative Economic and Political Research (NICEP) and co-director of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) Summer School on “Political Parties”. Since early 2016 I am co-editor of the Routledge book series on “Political Parties and Party Systems” as well as a Senior Fellow at the APELLA Institute for Policy Dialogue and Analysis (Armenia).

My work has been published in European Journal of Political Research, Sociological Methods and Research, West European Politics, Party Politics, Democratization, Political Studies Review, Government and Opposition, International Political Science Review, South European Society and Politics, and East European Politics. I have also co-authored several book chapters in various edited volumes. Lately, I co-edited two books in memory of my late mentor. The first one a collection in Spanish of his most influential works. The second a compilation of contributions from several of his students at the European University Institute.


    MA in Law (University of Navarra)
    MA in Political Science (University of Salamanca)
    MA in Eastern European Studies (Jagiellonian University)
    PhD. in Social and Political Sciences (EUI, Florence)

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Comparative politics (i.e. political parties and party systems, democratisation)
    Law (political party regulation, funding, banning)



Featured Title
 Featured Title - Party Politics and Democracy in Europe - 1st Edition book cover


West European Politics

Assessing the ‘myth’ of institutionalisation and democracy

Published: Jul 04, 2017 by West European Politics
Authors: Fernando Casal Bertoa

The main findings are threefold: (1) it is not the institutionalisation of political parties but the institutionalisation of party systems as a whole that has fostered the prospects for democratic survival in Europe; (2) there is a threshold of systemic institutionalisation which, once reached, will avoid democratic collapse; and (3) systemic over-institutionalisation does not seem to be so perilous for the survival of democracy.

Party Politics

Parties between thresholds

Published: Jan 04, 2017 by Party Politics
Authors: Fernando Casal Bertoa and Maria Spirova

Based on a comparison of 14 post-communist party systems, the main conclusion of the article is that the survival rate for such parties exceeds the survival rate for the non-publicly funded ones in almost all cases. A second, novel and more particular, finding is that parties who find themselves outside parliament, but above the payout threshold, display higher survival rates than parties who are below it.

Political Science Review

The Three Waves of Party System Institutionalisation Studies

Published: Jan 12, 2016 by Political Science Review
Authors: Fernando Casal Bertoa

The time has come to look back and, with the benefit of hindsight, take stock of the way party system institutionalisation has been conceptualised and operationalised, trying to distinguish both commonalities and discordances, while looking at what still needs to be done. In order to do so, we will distinguish three different (both discrete and thematic) waves of party system institutionalisation studies.

European Journal of Political Research

Party proscription and party system stability in Germany, Spain and Turkey

Published: Jan 11, 2016 by European Journal of Political Research
Authors: Fernando Casal Bertoa and Angela Bourne

Trying to address the effects of party proscription, and employing a new dataset of banned parties in Europe between 1945 and 2015, the study reported in this article compares the effects of party ban regulation on party system stability in three different arenas: electoral, parliamentary and governmental. In particular, the impact of party proscription on electoral volatility, fragmentation and closure is examined in three countries: Turkey, Germany and Spain

European Constitutional Law Review

Mapping ‘Militant Democracy’

Published: Jan 10, 2016 by European Constitutional Law Review
Authors: Angela Bourne and Fernando Casal Bertoa

Introduction – Explaining party bans, political and legal contexts – Banned parties and banning states in Europe, the political context – Nature of banned parties – Nature of banning states – Tolerant and intolerant democracies, the legal context – Evolving rationales for party bans and procedures for proscription

Party Politics

Party system closure and openness

Published: Jan 06, 2016 by Party Politics
Authors: Fernando Casal Bertoa and Zsolt Enyedi

The article proposes a new index, examines its reliability and validity, and reports the ranking of 60 party systems. By redefining the units of measurement we suggest new indicators that are uniform and transparent in their logic of construction, can be applied both to specific government-changes and to time periods, and are sensitive to the degree of change. The article demonstrates the power of inertia: the completely closed configurations stand out as the most durable ones.


Regulating party politics in the Western Balkans

Published: Jan 05, 2016 by Democratization
Authors: Fernando Casal Bertoa and Dane Taleski

Adopting a multi-disciplinary (that is, legal and political) approach, this article attempts to fill a gap in the literature by analysing how different party (finance) regulations shaped the party system in Macedonia, one of Europe's most recent (and under-researched) democracies, while controlling for changes in electoral regimes.

International Political Science Review

The world upside down: Delegitimising political finance regulation

Published: Jan 11, 2014 by International Political Science Review
Authors: Fernando Casal Bertoa, Fransje Molenaar, Daniela Piccio and Ekaterina Rashkova

This article addresses whether and to what extent different types of public funding regulation have improved the legitimacy of political parties by improving their image in terms of corruption. Towards this end, and focusing on both European and Latin American democracies, this article investigates whether a relationship indeed exists between the perceived corruption of political parties and the regulation of political finance.

East European Politics

Party regulation and party politics in post-communist Europe

Published: Jan 07, 2014 by East European Politics
Authors: Fernando Casal Bertoa and Ingrid van Biezen

We concentrate on the regulation of political parties in the post-communist democracies of East-Central and Southeast Europe. Our focus is on the formal rules as stipulated in Party Laws, finance laws and national constitutions, while we explore their impact on the party organisations and party systems.

South European Society and Politics

Party Regulation in Post-Authoritarian Contexts

Published: Jan 06, 2014 by South European Society and Politics
Authors: Ingrid van Biezen and Fernando Casal Bertoa

The contributions to this special issue fill part of this lacuna by evaluating the various dimensions of party regulation and their impact on the parties and the party systems in post-authoritarian Southern Europe. This introduction discusses the main sources of party regulation – Constitutions, Party Laws and Party Finance Laws – and provides some preliminary conclusions on the cartelisation of party organisations and party systems.