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Party Systems in East Central Europe

Ladislav Cabada; Vít Hloušek and Petr Jurek

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Party Systems in East Central Europe analyzes the formation of political parties in the nations of this region. In the first part, the authors concentrate on the key periods and turning points in this development, connecting them with the democratization of the countries in the region in the last third of the nineteenth century. This includes a look at the period before World War I, between the wars, and particularly in the times after the fall of the communist regimes. The analysis focuses chiefly on the ideological background that gave way to the rise of political parties in the region. In relation to this, the authors base their writing mainly on the socio-political theory of Stein Rokkan.

The second part of the book is a political analysis of the key aspects related to party politics. First, the authors examine the ties of political parties to broad social processes, using the classic theories of Giovanni Sartori and Stein Rokkan. Next, they continue with the analysis of the operation of parties within governments, with a special focus on the creation of coalition governments, functioning of coalitions and coalition governance. Last, some defects are reflected upon, as well as unfinished processes related to the fast establishment of political parties in the region, e.g., absence of firm links with social groups, high volatility, instability of parties, etc.
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Lexington Books
Pages: 220Size: 6 x 9
978-0-7391-8276-5 • Hardback • January 2014 • $84.00 • (£54.95)
978-1-4985-5694-1 • Paperback • March 2017 • $42.99 • (£29.95)
978-0-7391-8277-2 • eBook • January 2014 • $39.99 • (£24.95)
Ladislav Cabada is associate professor in the Department of Politics and Humanities at Metropolitan University, Prague and the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of West Bohemia.

Vít Hloušek is associate professor in the Faculty of Social Studies and director of the International Institute of Political Science at Masaryk University.

Petr Jurek is assistant professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at University of West Bohemia.
List of Abbreviations

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Political Parties in the history of Central and East European Politics
Chapter 3: The Deformation of Political Parties in the Communist Era and the Specifics of the post-Communist transition
Chapter 4: Fragmentation and polarisation of party systems: a Sartorian perspective
Chapter 5: Participation and mobilisation within party systems
Chapter 6: Parties in governments
Chapter 7: Conclusion

Bibliography
Ladislav Cabada, Vít Hloušek, and Petr Jurek have written an excellent introduction to the party systems of East Central Europe. Accessible, comprehensive, and up-to-date, this book should find a broad readership among scholars and students of East Central European politics alike.
Cas Mudde, Associate Professor, the University of Georgia


For Westerners traveling through East Central Europe (ECE) in the immediate post-1989 days, the explosion of party politics was altogether amazing and unexpected. With the possible exception of inter-war Czechoslovakia, all post-1920 states suffered under autocratic or quasi-fascist rule, Nazi occupation or control, and, finally, Communist rule. Why, with some exceptions, was the transition to democratic party politics so rapid? A quarter century on, how can these party systems be best understood? The authors provide a valuable, timely, data-rich, and theoretically based guide to post-1989 party systems in ECE EU member states. Most valuable, the authors analyze the historical context from the 19th century through 1989. Key issues are analyzed (e.g., party competition, parties and government, and mass mobilization). . . . Conclusions (e.g., no precise post-communist trend, ECE parties do govern competently, and popular participation is low) are carefully presented. Key topics (e.g., nationalistic populism) are acknowledged; others (e.g., impact of Western systems and the EU) are noted. Drawing heavily on political science literature, this work is dense and technical in presentation. Best suited for specialists. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate and research collections
CHOICE


A particular value of this book lies in its grasp of party developments in post-socialist EU member states since the historical start of party politics in the nineteenth century, as well as its linking of the literature on history, democratization, and party politics. Due to this approach, the authors are not only able to identify the many similarities, but also the dissimilarities, which are important in studying political party developments and the factors that impact these developments. Furthermore, the volume features valuable empirical data which calls for the next step in party politics research to be taken, including research into parties from various regions in which the (post)communist contextual data is just one of a number of variables included in the comparative research of political parties and party systems.
Danica Fink-Hafner, University of Ljubljana


This book is undoubtedly one of the best published in English to provide a full representation of East Central European party systems. The authors have diligently analyzed the party systems from the political turning point of 1989 to the present, taking into consideration the strong historical background of the region. A study of this topic requires a unique combination of theory with precise analysis of political events, processes, and procedures, and the authors of this book have succeeded in achieving this balance. This is a highly useful study that makes an important contribution to the field of political science.
Marek Bankowicz, Jagiellonian University


Party Systems in East Central Europe raises important issues and makes stimulating arguments about a range of factors that account for the formation of political parties in this region. The authors address several shortcomings that exist in this process, such as the absence of firm links with social groups, low party membership, high volatility, instability of parties, etc. They argue that all these deficiencies are not exclusively related to regional characteristics and post-communism, as similar tendencies also exist in Western Europe. Therefore, they conclude that the convergence process between East Central and Western European parties and party systems is faster than it was expected to be at the beginning of the 1990s. The strongest part of this book is its analysis of key periods and turning points in the rapid (re)establishment of East Central European political parties.
Darina Malová, Comenius University in Bratislava


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