The literature on democratic consolidation emphasizes the importance of effective parties for the functioning of democracy. Specifically, the institutional resilience of democracy and the consolidation of broad-based representative government require the institutionalization of major political factions. In this article, I reassess this thesis and apply it to the political parties in Turkey and Southern Europe by employing the comparative method of difference. Two major conclusions are reached. First, party institutionalization does not constitute a sufficient condition for democratic consolidation. Moreover, several institutional rules that may challenge the very idea of democracy tend to support party institutionalization. Second, party institutionalization reinforced by partisan polarization may result in tenser relations among political parties - a situation that does not contribute to democratic consolidation.