Sticking together: explaining comparative centre-right party success in post-communist central and eastern Europe

Hanley, Sean, Szczerbiak, Aleks, Haughton, Tim and Fowler, Brigid (2008) Sticking together: explaining comparative centre-right party success in post-communist central and eastern Europe. Party Politics, 14 (4). pp. 407-434. ISSN 1354-0688

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Abstract

This article attempts to explain varying patterns of centre-right success in three post-communist states, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. Success is understood as the ability to construct broad and durable parties. Both macro-institutional explanations, focusing on executive structures and electoral systems, and historical-structural explanations stressing communist regime legacies have limited power to explain the observed variance. The introduction of a more sophisticated framework of path dependence, stressing the role of choices and political crafting at critical junctures, adds some insight but the lack of strong ‘lock-in’ mechanisms required by such approaches makes such a model unconvincing when applied to CEE centre-right party development. Other explanations that stress the importance of elite characteristics and capacity are needed to supplement the shortcomings of these approaches, in particular: (a) the presence of cohesive elites able to act as the nucleus of new centre-right formations; and (b) the ability of such elites to craft broad integrative ideological narratives that can transcend diverse ideological positions and unite broad swathes of centre-right activists and voters.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: centre—right, Czech Republic, Hungary, parties, Poland
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
Depositing User: Aleks Szczerbiak
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:58
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2012 13:25
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/28932
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