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Author: Maria Wincławska
Institution: Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń (Poland)
Year of publication: 2006
Source: Show
Pages: 160-181
DOI Address: http://dx.doi.org/10.15804/ppsy2006012
PDF: ppsy/35/ppsy2006012.pdf

Emergence of parties and party systems in Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of Communism, in comparison with the emergence of parties and party systems in Western Europe, was different in at least two ways. First, they were forming up in the time of crisis of political parties in general. Western political parties, as Martin Seymour Lipset and Stein Rokkan indicated were a result of sociolopolitical cleavages (Lipset, Rokkan 1967), which enabled them to formulate their programmes and define their electorates. However, since the late 1960’ there have been many changes, due to new socio-political context. Relations between parties and their electorates started to diminish as a result of new sociopolitical differences and the parties themselves started to look for new supporters (tried, with the help of media, to become catch all parties). Parallel to this, ideologies stopped playing the main, defining role in the process of voting for the party. But still, as Lipset claims in an article describing party systems in postcommunist Europe, parties must have steady voter alignments based on sociopolitical divisions in order to successfully take part in consecutive general elections, until then they are unstable.

 

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