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Publication Detail
Patterns of party change in Central and Eastern Europe 1990-2015
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Ibenskas R, Sikk A
  • Publisher:
    SAGE Publications (UK and US)
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Party Politics: international journal for the study of political parties and political organizations
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
  • Keywords:
    Political party change, Central and Eastern Europe, party merger, electoral alliance, party split
While parties in many new democracies frequently split, merge, change labels, and make and break electoral alliances, comparative systematic research on how these changes are related to each other is limited. This study addresses this gap by conceptualizing change as a result of intra-party conflicts, conflicts in or consolidation of existing electoral alliances, and the formation of new alliances and mergers. We develop measures for each type of change using an original dataset that covers almost 800 party-electoral term dyads in 11 countries in Central and Eastern Europe in the period between 1990 and 2015. Our fi ndings contradict the idea of party change as a uni-dimensional phenomenon. Instead we find that exits from existing electoral alliances, their consolidation through mergers, and the formation of new alliances and mergers are moderately related to each other, but not with intra-party splits. Thus, parties and their alliances structure political competition in Central and Eastern Europe relatively well. Our findings also suggest that negative consequences of party change on representation and accountability are limited, as under the relative absence of multiple and nearly simultaneous changes in party identity the electorate should be able to follow party evolution.
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