and the status of the ‘pro-democratic civil society’.
From the institutional level of analysis, I look first at the paths chosen by the different states in response to extremist parties. However, before discussing the administrative and legal barriers imposed by democracies on extremist parties, another latent structural barrier, i.e. the electoralsystem – discussed in chapter 1 – should be clarified. The electoralsystem was not intended to block extremist parties from gaining representation. However
imposed on parties – structural restraints were also used. The electoralsystem designed at the end of Second World War clearly indicates a preference for the principle of stability over that of representation. The likelihood of small parties being able to penetrate the German Parliament is minimal, due to the required 5 per cent minimum threshold vote of all the valid ballots cast, or, alternatively, a mandatory victory in at least three of the electorate’s regions. A retrospective glance demonstrates that the combination of these stringent structural and