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Identifying the Bases of Party Competition in Eastern Europe Author(s): Geoffrey Evans and Stephen Whitefield Reviewed work(s):

Source: British Journal of Political Science, Vol. 23, No. 4 (Oct., 1993), pp. 521-548 Published by: Cambridge University Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 22/01/2012 16:26
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B.J.Pol.S. 23, 521-548 Printed in Great Britain

Copyright? 1993 CambridgeUniversityPress

Identifying the Bases of Party Competition in Eastern Europe


This article examines the emerging structure of party competition in the new democracies of Eastern Europe. It argues that the relationship between the social bases, issue dimensions and stability of party competition in countries in the region will vary depending on their differing experience of marketization, ethnic homogeneity and established statehood. In some countries, the predicted framework of party competition will derive from socio-economic divisions and will resemble that found in the West; in other countries, ethnicity and nation-building will provide the principal structuring factors; in yet other cases, where severe constraints exist on the emergence of any clear bases or dimensions, competition will centre on valence issues from which high voter volatility may be expected. Except where Western-type competition obtains, considerable doubts exist about the future stability of political systems in the region.

This article addresses the question of whether the structureof party competition emerging in the new democracies of Eastern Europe will resemble that commonly found in the West. In particular it examines whether socio-economic cleavages and left-right ideology are likely to form the main axis of political dispute. It is argued that an interplay of influences - in conjunction with institutional variations - will produce diverse patterns across the region. In addition to emerging socio-economic divisions, the party systems in Eastern European states will reflect cross-cutting patterns of interest articulation - ethnic and regional disputes and rising nationalism - which have resulted from, or are in the process of developing from, the formation of new states.' Therefore party competition will take socio-economic, ethnic or populist forms, according to the conditions existing in particular countries. Moreover, these patterns in turn are likely to have consequences for the degree of volatility of electorates

* Evans: Nuffield College, Oxford; Whitefield: Pembroke College, Oxford. The authors would like to thank the editor, David Sanders, and two reviewers, Archie Brown and Michael Moran, for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this article. Clearly, the party system is also affected by institutional factors, in particular by the electoral system. See, for example, D. Rae, The Political Consequences of Electoral Laws (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1971); and G. Bingham Powell, ContemporaryDemocracies (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982). But causal inference is a problem with these studies as the type of electoral rule adopted may reflect the nature of pre-existing political cleavages; M. Shamir, 'Changes in Electoral Systems as Interventions: Another Test of Duverger's Hypothesis', European Journal of Political Research, 13 (1985), 1-10. Consequently the type of electoral system may have some influence on party competition, but this should not be over-estimated.





and their normative commitment to democracy, with attendant implications for political stability. The article is organized as follows. Section I briefly reviews Western literature on the relations between social structure, dimensions of party competition and the stability of political systems. The section presents the main concepts used in the later parts of the article and provides a framework within which to interpret party competition in post-communist democracies. Section II examines the legacy of the communist period. Three main approaches are reviewed in this context. The 'missing middle' perspective argues that communism deprived individuals of institutional or social structuredidentities from which to derive political interests, other than those of the nation or mass society. The second, the modernization thesis, suggests convergent patterns of interest articulation between East and West. The third - and in our view most fruitful - approach to communist systems focuses on countryspecific cultural and institutional factors linking social structure, political attitudes and behaviour. Section iII examines the view, expressed most clearly by Herbert Kitschelt, that the social bases and ideological dimensions of party competition in Eastern Europe will be similar to those found in the West. Although Kitschelt recognizes that the distribution of social groups along these dimensions will differ from the corresponding pattern observed in Western democracies - at least at first - he does not sufficiently take into account the influence that specific factors in some countries will have on the emergence of different types of competition. Section iv presents the central thesis of the article concerning the bases of party competition in Eastern Europe. It is proposed that market experiences, ethnic homogeneity and security of nationhood all influence the emergent pattern of social cleavages and the dimensions of issues along which parties compete for support. The analysis shows that in some countries the constraints under which market transition is taking place are likely to result in a lack of structured competition based on socio-economic cleavages of the sort to be found in Western democracies. In others, however, marketization is more likely to provide a plurality of interests and political identities from which parties can derive stable support. In Section v it is proposed that these patterns in turn influence levels of volatility and normative commitment to democracy. The conclusions suggest that, except where Western-style competition is evident, considerable doubts exist about the future stability of political systems in the region.


Social and InstitutionalBases The most influential accounts of the structuring of political conflict in Western democracies have focused on the effects of pre-existing social cleavages on

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the development of party systems.2 According to these accounts, voting is primarily an expression of social position and the well-established values and interests associated with it: parties develop in order to express these interests. The 'social position' thesis goes on to propose that societies develop through several stages of cleavage development. The first stage involves pre-industrial cleavages that result primarily from the process of nation-building and church versus state conflicts: during this period, centre-periphery differences, nationality and religion constitute the main bases of party formation.3 The second stage relates to the industrial revolution and focuses on social class and trade unions as the sources of new party formation.4 A third and fourth stage have also been proposed involving cleavages derived from the impact of the state in producing sectoral divisions of interests - public versusprivate employment, housing tenure, state dependencys and the emergence of a post-industrial cleavage produced by educational expansion, the shift to a service economy and new 'postmaterial' values.6 However, despite these recent developments, many commentators concur that social class, and in some countries religion, are still the most important social cleavages affecting political attitudes, party support and voting behaviour.7 Although changes are occurring, they progress
Classic expositions of this approach are to be found in S. M. Lipset, Political Man. The Social Bases of Politics (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1981); and S. M. Lipset and S. Rokkan, 'Cleavage Structures, Party Systems and Voter Alignments: An Introduction', in S. M. Lipset and S. Rokkan, eds, Party Systems and VoterAlignments: Cross-National Perspectives (New York: Free Press, 1967). 3 Lipset and Rokkan, 'Cleavage Structures, Party Systems and Voter Alignments', in Peter Mair, ed., The West EuropeanParty System (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 99-111. 4 Lipset and Rokkan, 'Cleavage Structures, Party Systems and Voter Alignments'. 5 See P. Dunleavy and C. Husbands, British Democracy at the Crossroads (London: Allen & Unwin, 1985); and P. Saunders, 'Beyond Social Classes: The Sociological Significance of Private Property Rights in Means of Consumption', InternationalJournal of Urban and Regional Studies, 8 (1984), 202-27. 6 R. Inglehart, The Silent Revolution:ChangingValuesand Political Styles Among WesternPublics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1977);R. Inglehart, CultureShift (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990); R. J. Dalton, Citizen Politics in Western Democracies (Chatham, NJ: Chatham House, 1988);and Lipset, Political Man, pp. 509-21. 7 In Britain, for example, research into trends in class voting indicates that there was probably a change in 1970, but no secular decline; see G. A. Evans, A. F. Heath and C. Payne, 'Modelling the Class/Party Relationship 1964-87', Electoral Studies, 10 (1991), 99-117; and A. F. Heath, R. Jowell, J. Curtice, G. A. Evans, J. Field and S. Witherspoon, UnderstandingPolitical Change: The British Voter 1964-1987 (Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1991), pp. 62-84. Recent analyses of political attitudes also point towards a stable pattern of association: G. A. Evans, 'The Decline of Class Divisions in Britain? Class and Ideological Preferences in the 1960s and the 1980s', British Journal of Sociology, 44 (1993), 449-71; although class is clearly not the only influence on attitudes: G. A. Evans, 'Is Britain a Class-Divided Society? A Re-analysis and Extension of Marshall et al.'s Study of Class Consciousness', Sociology, 26 (1992), 233-58. Comparative evidence on the continuing importance of class-related cleavages is given in R. Rose, ed., Electoral Behaviour:A ComparativeHandbook (New York: Free Press, 1974); 0. Knutson, 'The Impact of Structural and Ideological Party Cleavages in Western European Democracies: A Comparative Empirical Analysis', British Journal of Political Science, 18 (1988), 323-52; and D. Weakliem, 'The Two Lefts? Occupation and Political Choices in France, Italy and the Netherlands,' AmericanJournalof Sociology, 96 (1991), 1327-61.





very slowly. To a large degree therefore, present-day political cleavages reflect the social divisions extant at the time of mass enfranchisement. The social position thesis explains the temporal stability of cleavages mainly by reference to the presence of mezzo-structureswhich develop and consolidate them - trade unions, the church, local community and parties themselves.8 A related perspective is advanced in 'party identity theory', where long-standing affective attachments to parties are considered to provide voters with a parsimonious way of understanding political issues and a basis for making voting decisions.9 This affective link is passed on through families and thus assures some degree of inter-generational stability in electoral alignments.'? As is wellknown, party identity theory was developed in the United States where parties pre-dated long-standing social cleavages and were therefore considered to form the object of identification, rather than religion, class or region. Parties thus represented broad coalitions of interests rather than precise representations of distinct social structurally-based interests. This emphasis on parties as influences on cleavages is also supported by comparative work in Britain and Sweden, which suggests that the framing of political issues by parties in class terms is associated with the electorate perceiving politics as the representation of class interests, and with more pronounced political cleavages between classes." A similar conclusion emerged from Gallie's'2 comparison of French and British workers, and the Heath et al. analysis of the influence of parties on attitudes towards nuclear issues.'3

Lipset's Political Man is an elaboration of this position, although it is only in his later work with Rokkan that the role of parties is given particular emphasis: see Giovanni Sartori, 'The Sociology of Parties: A Critical Review', in Peter Mair, ed., The West European Party System, pp. 150-82, especially at p. 175. In the British context, David Butler and Donald Stokes' Political Change in Britain (London: Macmillan, 1969) presents a similarly influential account of the role of institutional influences on voters' political affiliations. 9 G. Belknap and A. Campbell, 'Political Party Identification and Attitudes Towards Foreign Policy', Public Opinion Quarterly, 15 (1952), 601-23; and A. Campbell, P. Converse, W. Miller and D. Stokes, The American Voter(New York: Wiley, 1960). 10 K. See Jennings and R. Niemi, Generationsand Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1981). And for a recent example of this approach see R. Niemi and K. Jennings, 'Issues and Inheritance in the Formation of Party Identification', American Journal of Political Science, 35 (1991), 970-88. " Various pieces of argument and evidence are provided by A. Przeworski, Capitalismand Social Democracy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985); D. Granberg and S. Holmberg, The Political System Matters (Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 1988);and E. O. Wright, Classes (London: Verso, 1985). 12D. Gallie, Social Inequality and Class Radicalism in France and Britain (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983). 13A. F. Heath, R. Jowell, J. Curtice and G. A. Evans, 'The Rise of the New Political Agenda?' EuropeanSociological Review, 6 (1990), 31-49.

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Although this research is still more suggestive than confirmatory,14it does add further weight to the argument that, in certain contexts, parties can have significant influence on the development of cleavage structures.

Issue Dimensions The failure to find evidence of long-standing party identification in many European countries with more than two or three parties led to the investigation of voters' ideological positions as bases of their political identity.'5 Ideological self-placement has thus been argued to structure individuals' attitudes and behaviour in a similar fashion to party identity, especially in multi-party nations such as the Netherlands.'6 An important variant of the ideological approach has focused on the content of the issue space formed by dimensions of issue attitudes.'7 In Western democracies these tend to be of two relatively distinct types: left-right and libertarian-authoritarian.18 The 'left-right' dimension of issues is concerned with the redistribution of income and wealth, unemployment and inflation, public ownership and the welfare state and has traditionally formed the terrain over which political conflict has occurred. On the whole, these issues still form the most significant areas of political dispute in many Western nations. In Britain, for example, the issues which constitute the left-right dimension have been found to be consistently and strongly related to partisanship and voting, and to form the

14 For example, Mrs Thatcher's main effect on political attitudes in Britain may have been to produce a pro-welfare state backlash among the electorate. See I. Crewe, and D. Searing, 'Mrs Thatcher's Crusade: Conservatism in Britain 1972-1986', in B. Cooper, A. Kornberg and W. Mishler, eds, The Resurgenceof Conservatismin Anglo-AmericanDemocracies (Durham, NC: Duke Political Change,pp. 175-7. University Press, 1988), pp. 258-303; and Heath et al., Understanding 15 See R. Inglehart, 'The Changing Structure of Political Cleavages in Europe', in R. Dalton, S. Flanagan and P. Beck, eds, Electoral Change in Advanced Industrial Democracies (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984); and J. Huber, 'Values and Partisanship in Left-Right Orientations: Measuring Ideology', EuropeanJournal of Political Research, 17 (1989), 599-621. 16 C. P. Middendorp, Ideology in Dutch Politics: The Democratic System Reconsidered, 1970-85 (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1991). 17I. Budge and D. Farlie, Explaining and Predicting Elections. Issue Effects and Party Strategies in Twenty-Three Democracies (London: Allen & Unwin, 1983); A. Lijphart, Democracies (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1984). 18 See S. C. Flanagan, 'Value Change in Industrial Societies', American Political Science Review, 81 (1987), 1303-18.





most well-defined dimension of political attitudes across diverse social groups.'9 Research in other countries also provides evidence of the continuing political importance of issues of economic redistribution and state intervention.20 The libertarian-authoritarian dimension involves issues that focus on normative aspects of democracy: individual liberties and freedom of association and opinion versus restrictive and hierarchical practices. Typically, these have been of less significance as sources of dispute in Western democracies than have left-right issues. Nevertheless, there are indications that these sorts of issues have become more politically salient in recent years as 'new politics issues' - those concerned with quality of life and liberal values such as tolerance, women's and minority rights and individual liberty - have supposedly provided a new political agenda for Western democracies.21 Stability. The development of social cleavages, party identities and ideological orientations can be seen as complementary in providing the roots of electoral stability, without which political systems are susceptible to the swings and volatility associated with personality politics and authoritarian populism. Both the social cleavage and party identification models account for long-term stability in the electoral system and restrictions on the emergence of new parties whereas the ideological approach allows for changes of party, but still

See Heath et al., UnderstandingPolitical Change, pp. 171-99; B. Sarlvik and I. Crewe, The 19 Decade of Dealignment: The Conservative Victory in 1979 and Electoral Trends in the 1970s (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983); D. Robertson, Class and the British Electorate (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1984); H. T. Himmelweit, P. Humphreys and M. Jaeger, How Voters Decide (Milton Keynes, Bucks: Open University Press, 1985); A. F. Heath and G. A. Evans, 'Working Class Conservatives and Middle Class Socialists', in R. Jowell, S. Witherspoon and L. Brook, eds, British Social Attitudes. The 5th Report (Aldershot, Hants: Gower, 1988); and for a comprehensive analysis of the structure of British political attitudes: A. F. Heath, G. A. Evans, M. Lalljee, J. Martin and S. Witherspoon, 'The Measurement of Core Beliefs and Values' (Joint Unit for the Study of Social Trends, Working Paper No. 2, Nuffield College, 1991). 20 See J. Fleishman, 'Attitude Organization in the General Public: Evidence for a Bi-dimensional Structure', Social Forces, 67 (1988), 159-84; Middendorp, Ideology in Dutch Politics; Budge and Farlie, Explaining and Predicting Elections; Lijphart, Democracies; Knutson, 'The Impact of Structural and Ideological Party Cleavages in Western European Democracies'. 21 Inglehart, 'The Changing Structure of Political Cleavages in Europe'; Lipset, Political Man, pp. 509-21; Dalton, Citizen Politics in Western Democracies, pp. 77-124. For evidence to the contrary see Heath et al., 'The Rise of the New Political Agenda?'; G. A. Evans, 'Is Gender on the "New Agenda"? A Comparative Analysis of the Politicization of Inequality Between Men and Women', EuropeanJournal of Political Research, 21 (1993, forthcoming).

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implies a high degree of ideological consistency through time. Stability is also facilitated by the existence of sufficient diversity of cross-cutting cleavages to prevent monolithic parties from developing.22In addition, normative commitment in the electorate has been given a prominent role in perpetuating stable democracy. The classic research on civic culture agrees that belief in individual efficacy, civic responsibility and support for competitive elections is a pre-condition for participation, without which the representation of interests is unlikely to prove successful.23 In recent years this picture has been slightly modified by evidence that suggests Western democracies have entered a period of de-alignment.24To explain this change - which has been associated with increasing electoral volatility and declining party identity - new concepts and foci have been required. Accordingly there has been growth in the popularity of rational choice models,25 which explicitly accept the likelihood of political change. These include notions of issue voting,26 'consumer voting',27 evaluations of government economic performance both past and expected,28 and the role of economic outcomes - either for the society as a whole (sociotropic voting) - or for the individual voter (pocket-book voting).29 These changes have usually been attributed to increases in the sophistication of voters resulting from increasing levels of political information, education and cognitive mobilization.30 Thus Western
R. Dahl, Polyarchy (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1971). G. Almond and S. Verba, The Civic Culture. Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1963); G. Almond and S. Verba, eds, The Civic Culture Revisited. An Analytical Study (Boston, Mass.: Little Brown, 1980); S. H. Barnes, M. Kaase et al. eds, Political Action. Mass Participation in Five Western Democracies (Beverley Hills, Calif.: Sage, 1979); A. Marsh, Protest and Political Consciousness(London: Sage, 1977). 24 See I. Crewe and D. Denver, eds, Electoral Change in Western Democracies (London: Croom Helm, 1985); R. Rose and I. McAllister, VotersBegin to Choose (London: Sage, 1986); M. Franklin, The Decline of Class Voting in Britain (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985); Sarlvik and Crewe, Decade of De-Alignment; and various chapters in Dalton, Flanagan and Beck, Electoral Change in AdvancedIndustrialDemocracies, although there are critics of this view: see Heath et al., Understanding Political Change, pp. 10-31. 25 Anthony Downs, An Economic Theoryof Democracy (New York: Harper and Row, 1957). 26 Franklin, The Decline of Class Votingin Britain. 27 Himmelweit, Humphreys and Jaeger, How Voters Decide. 28 Morris Fiorina, Retrospective Voting in American National Elections (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1981). 29 D. Kinder and D. Kiewiet, 'Sociotropic Politics: The American Case', BritishJournalof Political Science, 11 (1981), 129-41; Michael Lewis-Beck, Economics and Elections (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1985); and David Sanders, Hugh Ward and David Marsh, 'Macroeconomics, the Falklands War, and the Popularity of the Thatcher Government; A Contrary View', in Michael Lewis-Beck, Helmut Norpoth and Jean-Dominique Lafay, eds, Economicsand Politics. The Calculus of Support(Ann Arbor; University of Michigan Press, 1991), pp. 161-85. 30 Dalton, Flanagan and Beck, Electoral Change in Advanced Industrial Democracies; Dalton, Citizen Politics in Western Democracies; and Inglehart, Culture Shift. Nevertheless, these claims are not without their critics: see Eric R. A. N. Smith, The UnchangingAmerican Voter (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990); and Heath et al., UnderstandingPolitical Change, pp. 32-51, for dissenting views.
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electorates now display a combination of well-established social and political alignments and instrumental rationality.31 These changes have generated a new perspective on the relationship between normative commitment in the electorate and system stability. In contrast to the civic culture approach which treats normative commitment to democracy as exogenous, rational choice theorists treat the normative base of democracy as a dependent variable whose presence or absence will be conditioned by other factors structuring individual payoffs.32From this line of argumentation it is possible to relate normative commitment to the structure of choices presented to rational voters by the pattern of party competition. To what degree do the newly emerging democracies in Eastern Europe share the liberal democratic basis of social cleavages, political identification and issue dimensions? To address this question it is first important to consider the legacy of communist rule on political attitudes and cleavages in Eastern Europe.

This section examines three contending views on the impact of communism on the social bases, dimensions and stability of party competition in postcommunist societies. The 'missing middle' approach suggests that social bases and dimensions to party competition will be largely absent and, consequently, that voter volatility will be high. In contrast, the modernization approach suggests that within communist society the framework for Western-type party competition had already emerged. Finally, the comparative communism approach takes account of country-specific institutional and cultural factors. This approach steers a middle course between the first two positions and provides a constructive basis for understanding the varying patterns of party competition that are presented in Section IV. The 'Missing Middle'Approach In contrast to the role accorded to social cleavages in the analysis of Western patterns of party competition, much of the political sociology of communism focused on the absence of stable social cleavages or any mezzo-structures based upon them. Communist societies were often described as being atomised by the combination of repressive and highly centralized state activities33and by
31 See R. Luskin, 'Measuring Political Sophistication', American Journal of Political Science, 31 (1987), 856-99, for a comprehensive analysis of this issue. 32 See A. Przeworski, Democracy and the Market (Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 1991); and J. Elster and S. Stegler, eds, Constitutionalismand Democracy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988). 33 W. Kornhauser, The Politics of Mass Society (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1960); T. I. Zaslavskaya, 'The Novosibirsk Report', Survey, 29 (1984), 88-108.

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a reward system which facilitated individual rather than collective action.34 In addition, the operation of egalitarian economic policies and the disaggregation of social resources - such as property, education, status, occupation and wealth - were considered to inhibit the formation of social classes, and led to the emergence instead of social amorphousness and homogenization.35The result, according to proponents of this approach, was a pattern of interest articulation at the level of mass collectivism - nation or society - rather than in median-level organised groups.36 The absence of mezzo-structures also inhibited the formation of a social identity from which political interests and allegiances might develop. In the economy, severe restrictions on the market - including the labour market on the private use of property and private property itself prevented the formation of intermediate structures such as corporations and trade unions. Institutions responsible for managing the economy were chiefly large-scale strategic and operational agencies of the state - state planning commissions and branch ministries - which operated highly redistributive policies and allowed enterprises to operate on the basis of soft budget constraints. Attempts to devolve economic decision-making to intermediate organizations were largely unsuccessful. At the political level, the absence of mezzo-level institutions was evident in the power of the ruling Communist parties and the consequent ban on free party formation, the absence of competitive electoral systems and representative institutions of government, and strong restrictions on freedom of information, association and expression. This lack of social and institutional bases was held to have affected the very existence of dimensions of issue space. There is some evidence, for example, that a large majority of east Europeans were highly state-reliant and attached to egalitarian and welfarist social policies. As a consequence, populations were unlikely to be differentiated along a dimension of left-right issues.37Moreover, it has been argued that people failed to consider their interests in terms of policy trade-offs, and exhibited incoherent or inchoate patterns of interest

(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993). 35 Ossowski, Class Structure in the Social Consciousness (New York: Free Press, 1963); W. S. Wesolowski, Classes, Strata and Power, translated into English with a foreword by G. Kolankiewicz (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1977: first published in Warsaw, 1966); W. Connor, Socialism's Dilemmas (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988); R. Bendix, Nation-Building and Citizenship(New York: Doubleday, 1969). 36 See T. Remington, 'Regime Transition in Communist States', Soviet Economy, 6 (1990), 160190; and G. Schopflin, 'The Road from Post-Communism', in S. Whitefield, ed., The New Institutional Architectureof Eastern Europe(London: Macmillan, 1993), pp. 183-200. 37 Breslauer; A. Inkeles and R. Bauer, The Soviet Citizen (New York: Atheneum, 1968); G. P. Hauslohner, 'Gorbachev's Social Contract', Soviet Economy, 1 (1987), 54-89; J. Koralewicz and M. Ziolkowski, 'The Socio-Political Mentality of Poles in the Late 1980s' (paper originally presented at the IVth World Congress for Soviet and East European Studies, Harrogate, 1990); J. R. Millar, ed., Politics, Work and Daily Life, the USSR: A Survey of Former Soviet Citizens (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987).

34 S. Whitefield, IndustrialPower and the Soviet State





articulation and belief structure.38For example, research conducted by east European scholars has indicated that populations lack a clear understanding of left-right distinctions and the competing political ideologies that characterize pluralist societies. Respondents to a national survey in Czechoslovakia, for example, had great difficulty in placing themselves on a left-right continuum and were unable to link economic policies to ideological positions.39 Similar characteristics were also found in Bulgaria,40and in Poland, where analyses of the structure of political attitudes indicated little evidence of an understanding of the trade-offs between principles such as equality and freedom.41 According to the 'missing middle' perspective, this lack of a differentiated basis of interests undermined the stability of voter behaviour. Individuals lacked feelings of attachment and responsibility to middle-range organizations, and they were unwilling to participate as citizens in meaningful political activities.42 The political behaviour of atomized individuals, including the pattern of their oppositional activity, tended to be passive and non-participatory, often reflecting an 'us-versus-them' attitude and a high degree of alienation from politics.43 Under these conditions, voters were considered highly volatile and prone to the mobilizing appeal of populist or nationalistic parties formed on the basis of mass collectivism. Such parties would put a strong emphasis on social justice and on non-compromisable principles, threatening to exclude ethnic or other minorities.44Therefore, the communist legacy suggested difficulty in ensuring normative commitment to democracy. It has been suggested that because of the inheritance of authoritarian attitudes from the communist (and pre-communist) period, east European states lack an established culture of democracy - so that attitudes to civil rights and responsibilities are not well-formed aspects of people's belief systems. In such circumstances the degree to which public attitudes and expectations are conducive to forms of democracy characteristic of the West is open to question: and this, in turn, raises questions about the

38 Batkin, 'Perestroyka: kto protif?' Ogonek (Moscow), 50 (1988), 10-14; Centre for the Study L. of Democracy, 'Where to After the Dark Room?', Kultura(Sofia), 17 August 1990. 39 L. Rezler, 'An Attempt to Identify the Background of the Political Left-Right Continuum in Czechoslovakia 1990' (mimeograph, 1991). 40 Centre for the Study of Democracy, 'Where to After the Dark Room?' 41 Koralewicz and Ziolkowski, The Socio-Political Mentality of Poles in the Late 1980s; M. Ziolkowski, 'Social Structure, Interests and Consciousness: The Crisis of the System of "Real Socialism" in Poland', Acta Sociologica, 33 (1990), 289-304. 42 A. Etkind and L. Gozman, 'Ot kulta vlasti k vlasti lyudei', Neva, No. 7 (1989), 156-79; R. Amann, 'Soviet Politics in the Gorbachev Era: The End of Hesitant Modernization', British Journal (London: Gollancz, of Political Science, 20 (1990), 299-310; A. Zinoviev, The Reality of Communism 1984); G. Breslauer, 'On the Adaptability of Soviet Welfare-State Authoritarianism', in Soviet Society and the CommunistParty (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1978); L. KolarskaBobinska, 'Civil Society and Social Anomy in Poland', Acta Sociologica, 33 (1990), 277-88. 43 G. Kolankiewicz, 'Parties, Presidents, and Parliament: Poland's Democratic Dilemmas', in Whitefield, ed., The New InstitutionalArchitecture,pp. 99-120. 44 Schopflin, 'The Road from Post-Communism'.

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likelihood of populist and extremist parties being able to rise to prominence.45 One commentator even proposes that one consequence of the variety of 'civil society' (which emerged under communism in an 'uncivil form') over the communist state may be a fatal weakening of both state and society, with obvious consequences for social stability.46

The ModernizationApproach The second model of politics in post-Communist states focused on the impact of modernization on interest articulation. This was considered to affect the development of cleavages regardless of communist political and economic institutions.47It was held that within communist societies, the bases and dimensions of stable party competition had already emerged. Convergence theories, for example, asserted that industrial society engendered similarities in occupational and status structures. The requirements of success in modernization created pressures for institutional frameworks similar to those found in Western societies (chiefly private property, markets and political pluralism), and demanded high levels of autonomy among employees, especially in science and technology.48 Instead of homogenization and alienation, therefore, this theory predicted well-developed occupational and other cleavages.49 According to the modernization thesis, issue dimensions were also structured by factors such as education, urbanization and the growth of professional expertise and technocracy in decision making. Individuals had an awareness of their interests and were able to situate themselves on a left-right continuum. As a consequence, the most modernized sections of the population expected to improve their position by operating in market conditions. Indeed, it was held that the success of communism in modernizing pre-industrial societies itself created the basis for a successful transition to liberal market democracy.50 The modernization perspective suggests, therefore, that there should be convergent patterns of party competition between East and West on the basis

45 M. Marody, 'Perception of Politics in Polish Society', Social Research, 57 (1990), 257-74; Smith, 'Transition to What?'; J. Gibson, R. Duch and K. Tedin, 'Democratic Values and the Transformation of the Soviet Union', Journal of Politics, 54 (1992), 329-71. 46 G. Ekiert, 'Democratic Processes in East Central Europe: A Theoretical Reconsideration', British Journal of Political Science, 21 (1991), 285-315. 47 Some political sociologists held both this and the 'missing middle' account simultaneously. See Zaslavskaya, 'The Novosibirsk Report'. 48 C. Kerr, The Future of Industrial Societies. Convergence or Continuing Diversity? (London: Harvard University Press, 1983); E. Hoffman and R. Laird, The Politics of Economic Modernization in the Soviet Union (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1982). 49 G. Lapidus, 'State and Society: Towards the Emergence of Civil Society in the Soviet Union', in S. Bialer, ed., Politics, Society and Nationality Inside Gorbachev's Russia (London: Westview Press, 1989). 50Remington, 'Regime Transition in Communist States'.





of socio-economic cleavages and left-right issue dimensions.51In these circumstances, voters would have the social and ideological characteristics on which parties could quickly graft themselves. In addition, high participation rates52 among people whose resistance to and overthrow of communist regimes - via organizations like Civic Forum and Solidarity - has trained them in the values of democracy,53suggests a stable outcome to the transition. ComparativeCommunistApproaches The problem evident with both approaches presented above is that they are not sensitive to the social, institutional and cultural differences evident among communist countries. In the first place, variations in the extent and form of mezzo-structures were considerable. In Poland, for example, the existence of the Catholic church and the Solidarity trade union were important in explaining the success of counter-communist oppositional interest articulation.54In the Soviet Union, the preservation of a federal political structure and a reward and distribution system in which ethnic labelling played a substantial part had a significant effect on patterns of opposition.55In Hungary, by comparison with the Soviet Union and other Eastern European states, there had been considerable success in shifting political power away from the main economic institutions,56 and a liberalizing regime had succeeded in creating elites with whom the state could negotiate, thus allowing for greater differentiation along issue dimensions and for the early emergence of parties.57In Czechoslovakia, a hard-line regime had prevented the emergence of alternative political elites,
51 See, for example, M. Ellman, Planning Problems in the USSR (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973); Hauslohner, 'Gorbachev's Social Contract'; L. Pye, 'Political Science and the Crisis of Authoritarianism', American Political Science Review, 84 (1990), 3-19; Kerr, The Future of Industrial Societies; B. Ruble, 'The Soviet Union's Quiet Revolution', in Breslauer, ed., Can Gorbachev's Reforms Succeed? (Berkeley: University of California, Centre for Slavic and East European Studies, 1987); G. Konrad and I. Szelenyi, The Intellectuals on the Road to Class Power (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979);Z. Strmiska, 'Political Power and Social Inequality', in P. Kende and Z. Strmiska, eds, Equality and Inequality in Eastern Europe (Leamington Spa: Berg, 1987), pp. 279-341; G. M. Borodkin, 'Sotsial'naya politika: vlast' i perestroyka', in Postizhenie (Moscow: Progress, 1989);and S. Andreev, 'Prichini i sledstvia', Ural, No. 1 (1988), 104-49. 52 F. Starr, 'The USSR: A Civil Society', Foreign Policy, 70 (1989), 26-41; J. Hough and M. Fainsod, How the Soviet Union is Governed(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1979). 53 J. Rupnik, 'Out of the Ice and into the Fire', European Journal of International Affairs, 7 (1990), 50-60. 54Z. Pelczynski, 'Solidarity and the Rebirth of Civil Society', in J. Keane, ed., Civil Society and the State (London: Verso, 1988), pp. 361-80. 55 Borodkin, 'Sotsial'naya politika: vlast' i perestroyka'; Whitefield, Industrial Power and the Soviet State. 56 V. Palei and K. L. L. Radzivanovich, 'How to Carry Out Economic Reform: Points of View and Reality', Soviet Studies, 42 (1990), 25-37; A. Migranyan, 'Dolgiy put' k yeveropeyskomu domu', Novy Mir, No. 7 (1989), 166-84. 57 Tokes, 'Hungary's New Political Elites: Adaptation and Change', Problems of Communism, R. 39 (1990), 44-65; A. Korosenyi, 'Hungary', Electoral Studies, 9 (1990), 337-45.

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even though the society was relatively pluralist, thus impeding the emergence of parties and forcing interest articulation into encompassing movements.58 In Bulgaria and Romania, the combination of a hard-line regime and a nonpluralist society produced a further distinctive transition pattern around the continued power of a reformed Communist party.59 A comparative approach also suggests that modernization was not uniform across the region. In some countries, like Romania, failure to reward educational attainment with social mobility and increased living standards produced a distinctive pattern of anti-communist interest articulation. Even where there was clear evidence of modernization, as in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, the form of regime - hard-line or liberal - affected the pattern of interest articulation. Variation among communist societies in terms of opposition, therefore, depended not on the absolute level of development, but on the impact of this development on the diverse patterns of interest articulation and institutions.60 In addition to institutional objections to generic characterizations of east European politics, comparativists have also emphasized cultural differences between countries. Thus political culture approaches argued that even among communist states with similar formal institutional arrangements, there were differences in the development of oppositional politics and regime stability. These reflected 'the subjective perception of history and politics, the fundamental beliefs and values, the foci of identification and loyalty, and the political knowledge and expectations which are the product of the specific historical experience of nations and groups.'61At the same time, stability or instability in communist states was explained, in part at least, by the degree of 'fit' between the one-party state and the culture of the societies in which they were located. For example, accounts of the Russian and other Slavic populations of the Soviet Union cited the important role of'orthodoxy, autocracy and nationalism' in explaining the high degree of 'fit' between regime and population in parts of the Soviet Union.62This contrasted with the Protestant, Catholic and secular traditions found in the Baltic states, Poland and Czechoslovakia where rebellion was more prevalent. The inter-war experience of democracy was also cited as an important cultural factor explaining events such as 1968 in

59R. Crampton, 'Bulgaria', in Whitefield, ed., The New Institutional Architecture, pp. 14-34,

J. Batt, 'Czechoslovakia', in Whitefield, ed., The New InstitutionalArchitecture,pp. 35-55.

Centre for the Study of Democracy, 'Where to After the Dark Room?'; S. Ashley, 'Bulgaria', Electoral Studies, 9 (1990), 312-18; M. Meurs, 'Central Planning and Popular Participation in Socialism: Internal Contradictions or Insufficient Interaction', Crisis and Transition: Bulgaria in the Second Half of the 1980s (Sofia: 1990). 60 Remington, 'Regime Transition in Communist States'. 61 A. Brown, 'Introduction' in A. Brown and J. Gray, eds, Political Cultureand Political Change in CommunistStates (London: Macmillan, 1977), p. 1. See also A. H. Brown, ed., Political Culture and CommunistStudies (London: Macmillan, 1984); and J. Bushnell, 'The New Soviet Man Turns Pessimist', Survey, 24 (1979), No. 2, 1-18. 62 S. White, 'The USSR: Patterns of Autocracy and Authoritarianism', in Brown and Gray, eds, Political Cultureand Political Change,pp. 25-65.



Czechoslovakia.63While not without its critics,64the political culture approach assumed, therefore, that cultural factors would prove to be an important predictor of the scope for effective institutional change, and that significant distinctions would emerge between east European countries in terms of their willingness and ability to make a successful transition to democracy. To summarize this section, the missing middle approach proposes that the communist legacy has led to individuals lacking institutional or social structural identities from which to derive political interests other than those of the nation or mass society. In contrast, the modernization thesis proposes that there were similar developments to those in the West and thus some convergence in patterns of interest development. The comparativists, by contrast, point to the role of country-specific factors in explaining the formation of interests in communist societies. The theory and evidence to be advanced in Section iv support the comparativist approach. Before turning to this, however, the role of parties is considered and recent work by Herbert Kitschelt on social bases and issue dimensions is critically reviewed.

The Influenceof Parties One implication of the discussion in Section I is that parties themselves could provide the basis of political identity and stability. For example, it has been speculated that inter-party conflict in Eastern European states may reflect the traditional alignments from the pre-communist era.65However, the elections of 1989-90 provided little support for this, at least so far as the success of reconstituted parties was concerned: in Hungary and Romania, old parties (where they contested elections) were not very successful. There are some indications of continuity - for example, of peasants' parties - but on the whole it appears as though forty years of communist monopoly of political activity, with its debilitating effect on civil society, undercut the possibility of a return to pre-war party attachments or party conflict,66and that the collapse of communism brought forth a wholly new set of parties divided by issues largely inherited from communism.67 Nevertheless, there is some evidence that identification with new parties may have provided stability in some countries during the elections precipitating,
63 A. Brown and G. Wightman, 'Czechoslovakia: Revival or Retreat', in Brown and Gray, eds, Political Cultureand Political Change, pp. 159-96; H. G. Skilling, 'Czechoslovak Political Culture: Pluralism in an International Context'; Brown, ed., Political Culture and Communist Studies, pp. 115-33. 64 S. Welch, 'Issues in the Study of Political Culture: The Example of Communist Party States', British Journal of Political Science, 17 (1987), 479-500. 65 Rupnik, 'Out of the Ice and into the Fire'; J. Eyal, 'Romania' and B. Lomax, 'Hungary', both in Whitefield, ed., The New InstitutionalArchitecture,pp. 121-42 and 79-98 respectively. 66 V. Bogdanor, 'Founding Elections and Regime Change', Electoral Studies, 9 (1990), 288-94. 67 See Whitefield, ed., The New Institutional Architecture,passim.

Party Competitionin Eastern Europe


or following, the fall of the communist regimes. Even though in many cases these parties were still in their infancy, they may have provided electors with a way of understanding political disputes and a basis for voting decisions. In Poland, for example, people appeared to trust Solidarity even though it had little in the way of policies to offer them.68However, the short-lived nature of this social trust - and the possible consequences for future stability - was evident in the elections of October 1991 in which fragmentation of parties seems to have been the most notable outcome. A similar pattern is visible in Russia in the elections of 1990,69 where there is evidence that parties and broad electoral coalitions were important in mobilizing support for nonestablishment candidates. But again, there has since occurred a fragmentation of the party system, and even a diminished salience for parties in the political Czech and Slovak process, which does not augur well for their social influence.70 politics, which have witnessed the splintering of Civic Forum and the eclipse of Public Against Violence, are furtherevidence of the volatility of party support once the transition has been made.7' This tendency for parties to split and to fail in their task of structuring social opinion may be likely to continue for some time: the competition amongst the inexperienced new elites may be so great as to prevent the level of cooperation necessary for stable parties to operate. As a consequence the public may be left without well-formed identifications. It can be concluded that encompassing movements do not provide long-standing affective attachments once communism is defeated.

Kitschelt's Analysis of Social Bases and Issue Dimensions If neither present nor past parties provide voters with a stable political orientation, how do they make choices about which policies to endorse and for which parties to vote? One possibility also discussed in Section I is that social position and ideological identification may provide the basis for partisanship. Indeed, it has been argued that, in the absence of well-formed party loyalties, issue cleavages and the social divisions associated with them may be the focus of party conflict. Consequently, understanding the pattern of party competition requires the identification of (a) the dimensions of issue space that will be salient in different conditions, and (b) the social characteristics that could form

68 Marody, 'Perception of Politics in Polish Society'; W. Wesolowski, 'Transition from Authoritarianism to Democracy', Social Research, 33 (1990), 435-63. 69 T. Colton, 'The Politics of Democratisation: The Moscow Elections of 1990', Soviet Economy, 6 (1990), 285-344; M. McAuley, 'The Regional Perspective: Electoral Politics, Economic Stalemate, and Elite Realignment', Soviet Economy, 8 (1992), 46-88. 70 S. Whitefield, 'Russia', in Whitefield, ed., The New InstitutionalArchitecture,pp. 143-61. 7' L. Brokl, 'The Results and Consequences of the 1992 Elections', Czechoslovak Sociological Review, 28 (1992), 119-23.





the basis of attitudes towards these issues. A recent paper by Kitschelt provides a substantial contribution to such an analysis of east-central Europe.72 Kitschelt proposes that party competition is likely to have a socio-economic basis. This results from the differential opportunities provided to positions in the occupational structures of east European societies by transitions to market economies. In addition, the distribution of social groups in support of the market will be conditioned by the level of economic development, with its attendant consequences for the size of various sectors and especially the decline in size of conservative influences such as the peasantry. Furthermore, Kitschelt argues that the social bases of party competition will be reinforced over time, as marketization and party formation proceed: correlated issue dimensions of market versus redistributive and libertarian/cosmopolitan versus authoritarian/particularist political strategies will emerge. Kitschelt concludes that the main axis of competition along these dimensions is shifted 90 degrees in comparison to that in the West, where he assumes that libertarian/cosmopolitanism is associated with support for redistributive strategies.73In east-central Europe, in contrast, libertarians are pro- rather than anti-market. Clearly, therefore, voters possess social identities and issue preferences which provide a stable basis for party competition. Kitschelt's views develop the arguments presented in Section I and do not fall neatly into any of the approaches described in Section II. He is clearly not a supporter of the 'missing middle' approach, believing that there are distinct social bases and clearly perceived dimensions of issues. On the other hand, he does not unreflectively adopt a modernist stance, as is clear from the inclusion of specific features of communist society, especially the nomenklatura, in his models. He also recognizes that the distribution of support for markets will vary across societies. In this sense, he adopts a comparativist approach. Nevertheless, although informed and perceptive, his article has several limitations. First, Kitschelt employs social-structural categories inherited from the communist period that he believes may provide sources of interests in postcommunist societies. However, when considered from the point of view of their members' potential success in market-based societies, these categories are highly heterogeneous: the nomenklatura, medical and legal professionals, workers in heavy industry, and the technical-administrative intelligentsia are highly aggregated groups which were largely formed in the communist period, and whose coherence is likely to be specific to that form of social and economic organization. As marketization proceeds, considerable intra-group differentiation may occur and inherited social-structural categories are unlikely to remain
72 H. Kitschelt, 'The Formation of Party Systems in East Central Europe', Politics and Society, 20 (1992), 7-50. 73 We should note that the empirical research reported in Section I indicates that Kitschelt's representation of the association between libertarian/cosmopolitanism and redistributive strategies in the West applies more to elites than to the views of the mass public, for whom the dimensions are relatively orthogonal.

Party Competitionin Eastern Europe


sources of political interests. Moreover, to the degree that they currently constitute distinctive interest groups, these occupational groups may actually hinder the marketization process. Consequently, Kitschelt's argument that dimensions of issue divisions emerge 'over time' as marketization and party formation proceed, is open to question - marketization may not proceed in the manner he envisages. Second, though Kitschelt recognizes the educative role of parties, his analysis does not explain why parties should choose to 'educate the public' along the dimensions he mentions. After all, if parties are competing to maximize their votes, they should focus upon the most likely current sources of mass support - not those that may emerge over time.74Having done so, they are unlikely to compromise their electoral base by changing their policies too radically. Thus the communist inheritance is likely to be more important for the future shape of party competition than Kitschelt assumes. Cleavages may matter, but the question is: which ones? If marketization proceeds, it is likely to influence the development of a leftright structure and a social-structural basis to political attitudes in Eastern Europe. Formative issues are likely to be - to name but a few - the experience of unemployment, lowered real wages (at least temporarily), the constraints imposed by such familiar (to us) market trade-offs as interest rates and inflation, and the new experience of finding strategies for surviving in a free market economy. The introduction of personal taxation may likewise be an important factor in generating divisions within the electorate on levels of state spending and public employment.75Moreover, it has often been assumed that individuals who move into the private sector develop different interests from those who are still reliant on state subsidy, thus mirroring the sectoral divisions that some commentators have claimed are significant cleavages in the West.76Through privatization, therefore, governments can act as influences on political attitudes and the formation of social cleavages by altering voters' market situations and perceived interests.77All of these factors point to a left-right division based on socio-economic cleavages. However, there are two other potential outcomes. First, even where marketization is a success, the ethnic composition of the state may be such as to prevent socio-economic cleavages predominating. Secondly, the success of market transition in many countries is uncertain 74In this respect it should be noted that it has been argued that if there is any dimension of ideology that has a clear existence in the minds of Eastern European electorates it is likely to be the division between authority and democracy inherited from the period of communist rule, rather than one based on economic conflicts. See Kolankiewicz, 'Parties, Presidents, and Parliament'. 75See Kolankiewicz, 'Parties, Presidents, and Parliament'. 76 Dunleavy and Husbands, British Democracy at the Crossroads. See 77The attempts by the Conservative government in Britain to develop constituencies among the electorate by council house sales and mass share ownership are a celebrated example of this strategy, although they appear to have brought only slight benefits in terms of votes. See A. F. Heath, R. Jowell, J. Curtice and G. A. Evans, 'The Extension of Popular Capitalism', Strathclyde Papers in Politics, No. 60 (1989); P. Norris, 'Thatcher's Enterprise Society and Electoral Change', West EuropeanPolitics, 13 (1990), 63-78.





to say the least. Under conditions of market failure, a variety of other issues may shape party competition. To some extent, Kitschelt recognizes the possibility of 'patterns of collective political identification that are outside the area of socio-economic relations, such as religion, nationality, or ethnicity'.78However, he submits that these will coincide with socio-economic programmes designed to slow down or accelerate market reforms. The problem is that - in certain institutional contexts - cross-cutting social cleavages may prevent the emergence of politics structured along market/cosmopolitan/libertarian versusredistributive/nationalist/authoritarian dimensions. In a break-away state like Estonia, for example, there appears to be little evidence that pro-market and pro-Western ethnic Estonians are supportive of full political citizenship for the substantial Russian minority; nor that support for the market is inconsistent with government intervention to redistribute former Soviet property, the principle of redistribution here being ethnic rather than socio-economic. It is also possible that in some countries there will be no class, ethnic or ideological bases to party competition. This is particularly likely to be the case in countries where there are high levels of ethnic homogeneity, and where the difficulties of marketization across all sections of society may have the effect of forming a consensus around populist, nationalist or anti-Western interests. Andrew Janos, for example, has recently argued that much of the impetus for the abandonment of communism lay in the relative deprivation of east European societies vis-ai-vis the West.79If expectations of a narrowing of the gap - or even an absolute rise in local living standards - are frustrated, then, as Janos indicates, mass support may be forthcoming for policies directed against the West and those perceived to be their local agents. The focus of political dispute in these cases would then be over the perceived competence of candidates to achieve successful outcomes on 'valence issues' - i.e. the goals about which the vast majority of the electorate is agreed - and which therefore have no distinct social or ideological dimension. The lack of socially and ideologically differentiated choices suggests that in at least some east European states there may be high levels of voter volatility. Thus inexperience and unrealistic expectations concerning the workings of the economy may combine to make voters susceptible to exaggerated claims by politicians. These claims are unlikely to prove successful, so that in ensuing elections voters are likely to punish the incumbents. Repeated experience of this pattern of unsuccessful appeals is likely to result in a decline in normative commitment to democracy. This decline is likely to be exacerbated by the tendency for governments in countries without pluralist bases of party competition and who not deliver general rewards to scapegoat 'internal or external enemies',

Kitschelt, 'The Formation of Party Systems in East Central Europe', p. 27. 79 Janos 'Social Science, Communism, and the Dynamics of Political Change', WorldPolitics, A. 44(1991), 81-112.

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thus reinforcing authoritarian tendencies among the general population and undermining the commitment of targeted minorities to electoral procedures. There are, in fact, signs across eastern Europe that the politics of personality and charisma may be more important in structuring political attitudes than that of party competition. The most frequently alluded to example is that of Walesa in Poland whose populist style of government in which quick fixes were promised was clearly counter to the gradualist, and more expert, politics of the outgoing Mazowiecki.80 But this can be seen also in Russia, where Yeltsin assumed both presidential and prime ministerial portfolios, rules largely by decree, and stands deliberately above party politics. In Romania, Iliescu and the rejuvenated secret police appear to be politically dominant, and the form of political competition that is emerging from the National Salvation Front is also based more on personality than party.81 A variety of country-specific distributional cleavages - related to ethnic and institutional factors as well as economic development - are therefore possible, which are likely to give rise to a configuration of issue clusters that cannot easily be incorporated within Kitschelt's framework. Although there may be divisions along dimensions of redistributive and libertarian issues, these may have no stable basis in sets of interests derived from social structural locations. While it would be wrong to rule out the emergence in some countries of a pattern of social cleavages and issue articulation similar to that proposed by Kitschelt, a more sensitive comparative framework is required which can account for a number of different possible structures of party competition.

From the discussion presented so far it can be seen that there are considerable problems in generalizing predictions concerning the nature of party competition across the full range of countries in eastern Europe. This section draws together the implications of the various arguments raised so far, and presents the principal thesis of this article. This is that the distribution across east European countries of patterns of social bases and issue dimensions is conditioned by three national-level explanatory variables: economic development;82levels of
Schopflin, 'The Road from Post-Communism'; Kolankiewicz, 'Parties, Presidents, and Parliament'. 8'Eyal, 'Romania'; Whitefield, 'Russia'. 82 The assignment of countries within this category is to some extent provisional. We assume that countries that have achieved relative macro-economic stabilization (by whatever route), with more modern industry and infrastructure,a more developed service sector, and in greater proximity to Western markets are more likely to attract foreign investment and sustain economic growth. See M. Kaser and C. Allsopp, 'The Assessment: Macroeconomic Transition in Eastern Europe, 1989-1991', Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 8 (1992), 1-13; 'The ECE Economies in 1992', Economic Bulletin for Europe, 44 (1992), 25-46; L. Balcerowicz, The Transition to Democracy and the Market Economy (London: School of Slavonic and East European Studies, 1993). However, it should be noted that the theory which underpins our views on the structure of party competition is not affected if a country is misassigned. The rules which apply to the category in which it actually falls are then the relevant ones.



ethnic homogeneity;83 and the historic status of the state.84 Depending on the presence or absence of these conditioning factors three general categories of party competition are likely to emerge: socio-economic, ethnic or valence. Where there is a socio-economic basis to party competition it will be most strongly influenced by left-right issues. Where there is an ethnic basis to party competition it will be most strongly influenced by liberal-authoritarian and national-cosmopolitan issues. Finally, in the absence of socio-economic or ethnic bases of competition, the principal issues around which parties will compete will be consensual; what will concern voters will be the ability of parties to achieve agreed-upon goals. This argument will now be illustrated by a consideration of the distinct patterns of party competition in the region that are predicted on the basis of national variations in economic success, ethnic homogeneity and break-away status. Table 1 provides a characterization of national differences in these three variables, and Table 2 presents the varying bases of party competition that are predicted to result.


Influenceson the Bases of Party Competitionin Eastern Europe Marketsuccess Ethnichomogeneity Two largecommunities Two largecommunities Onedominant community High Two largecommunities LargeRussian withmany majority smallethnicgroups High Onedominant community High High Onedominant community Onedominant community Breakaway Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No Yes

Estonia Latvia Lithuania Belarus Ukraine Russia Poland Bulgaria CzechRepublic Hungary Romania Slovakia

High High High Low Low Low High Low High High Low Low

83 In Eastern Europe, of course, this is a relative category: all countries in the region contain ethnic minorities of some sort. 84 Again, disagreement may arise as to the categorization of Russia and the Czech Republic as established states. However, their dominance in the former Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia makes it more accurate to treat them as successors rather than break-away states.

Party Competitionin Eastern Europe


The tables suggest three broad clusterings of countries. Consider, first, the Czech Republic, Poland85 and Hungary. In these ethnically homogeneous, established states - where the probability of market success is high - the likelihood of the development of Western-style patterns of mutually supporting social cleavages and party systems is greatest. Absolute growth, which now seems a distinct possibility, will provide for non-zero sum bargaining among social groups which have grounds for compromise. Relative improvements in standard of living vis-ac-vis the West will diminish the basis for anti-Western populist party organization. Ethnic homogeneity allows for the development of distributional politics along class rather than ethnic lines. At the same time, the existence of an established state means that the move towards market distribution may occur without first having to deal with serious problems of creating new political institutions. This, in turn, is likely to diminish the salience of state-building as a political issue. In short, in all three of these countries the development of a party system along a redistributive-market axis can be expected.86 As Table 1 also indicates, Lithuania has some similarity with the three countries above. To be sure, Lithuania's break-away status could exert an independent influence over and above market and ethnic factors - by turning nationbuilding into a valence issue for party competition that cuts across occupational boundaries. Nevertheless, there is likely to be a less radical nationalism in Lithuania than in the other Baltic states, due to the numerical pre-eminence of ethnic Lithuanians. Moreover, there is a reasonably high likelihood of market success. For these reasons, social structure rather than ethnicity should emerge as the main basis of party competition in the dominant ethnic group, though ethnicity may continue to influence the voting behaviour of those minorities that are anxious to secure protection and rights. This, in turn, implies that the structuring factor will be the redistributive versus pro-market dimension of ideology. The 1992 election showed the ability of a social democratic party to win an election on the basis of a moderate market strategy. But more importantly, it suggested that it was the market versusredistributiveissues that formed the focus of voting decisions rather than nationalism. The Lithuanian case thus provides evidence of the structuring influence of the left-right dimension. The second clustering of countries groups together Latvia and Estonia where the chances of market success are relatively high but where the balance of ethnic diversity and break-away status impinge on class-structured
85The proliferation of parties obtaining seats in the 1991 elections in Poland (due to the low cut-off level for the allocation of seats to parties) may serve to obscure the major dimensions of party competition in that country. This highlights the important distinction made earlier between the issue basis of political competition and the act of voting itself. A more suitable test of the structuring of party competition under these conditions would be an analysis of the dimensionality and social bases of political attitudes, which are less likely to have been dissipated in the way that votes were. 86 In the Czech Republic there has been support for this prediction in the 1992 elections, where preliminary analyses indicate that there is a greater spread across the left-right spectrum than is the case in Slovakia (see below); Brokl, 'The Results and Consequences of the 1992 Elections'.


TheBases of Party Competitionin Eastern Europe

Social bases






Lithuania Belarus Ukraine

Mainly socio-economic with small ethnic parties. Lack of market success means little social basis for party competition. Lack of market success means little social basis for party competition. Ethnic bases may be important. Lack of market success means little social basis for party competition. Small ethnic parties in regions. Socio-economic cleavages.


Poland Bulgaria

Lack of market success means little social basis for party competition. Small ethnic parties. Czech Republic Socio-economic cleavages. Hungary Romania Slovakia Socio-economic cleavages. Lack of market success means little social basis for party competition. Small ethnic parties. Lack of market success means little social basis for party competition. Small ethnic parties.

Ethnically based distributiv exclusionist, pro-Western but less so, inclusivist, pro Ethnically based distributiv exclusionist, pro-Western but less so, inclusivist, pro Redistributive versus marke building, Russian/Poles c Limited dimensionality. Val economic competence. Limited dimensionality. Pos dimension. Valence issues competence. Community Limited dimensionality. Val competence, territorial in ethnic minorities. Redistributive, authoritaria cosmopolitan. Limited dimensionality. Val competence. Community Redistributive, authoritaria cosmopolitan. Redistributive, authoritaria cosmopolitan. Limited dimensionality. Val competence. Community Limited dimensionality. Val competence. Community

Party Competitionin Eastern Europe


distributional cleavages. To some extent, of course, ethnic and class categories in these countries correlate: Russians are concentrated in heavy industry; Estonians and Latvians in agriculture and services. But the emergence of a class-basis of support for parties is unlikely because of the similarity in size of the two communities in both states: in these conditions, intra-ethnic cohesion is likely to pay a premium, thus diminishing the development of class-based politics across communities. The break-away status of the state is only likely to compound the problem since the Russian population is associated with a challenge to Estonian and Latvian independence. Furthermore, ethnic diversity and the country's break-away status will impinge upon the coherence of the distributional, authoritarian-liberal and nationalistic-cosmopolitan dimensions. For all these reasons, we predict that party competition in Estonia and Latvia will be structured on non-pluralist, ethnic and nationalist lines with valence issues forming the axis of political disputes within each community. The third clustering contains countries with low chances of success in market reforms. In this category, as Table 1 shows, can be found Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Bulgaria and Romania. Of these, Russia, Bulgaria and Romania are also established states with ethnically diverse populations. They differ in that ethnic Bulgarians and Romanians are of sufficient number continuously to outvote Turks and Hungarians respectively, making a constitutional compromise unlikely. In Russia, the scale of the ethnic problem is such that special constitutional arrangements have had to be arrived at via a federal treaty that ensures equal representation in one chamber of the parliament for each region and nationality. These constitutional provisions mean that a compromise on national issues is more likely, and the scapegoating of ethnic groups as a result of market failure less likely, than in Romania and Bulgaria - though such dangers, especially with regard to Jews, cannot be ruled out.87 Belarus and Ukraine, for their part, are alike in being break-away states, but dissimilar in their ethnic composition. In both countries, the experience of breaking away is likely to structure the party system along nationalist lines for some time to come. In Ukraine, however, nationalist issues are likely to be especially salient because of the dispute between Russia and Ukraine, particularly over the status of the Crimea. In all of the countries in this third clustering, however, the problem of marketization - absolute and relative deprivation - are likely to provide the principal valence issue around which parties compete, rather than interests related to social structural positions.

A further set of predictions can be derived from the patterning of party competition discussed above. The three types of bases of party competition Preliminary evidence suggests that such scapegoating could occur within less educated strata, and in particular among those who are opposed to further democratization. See J. Gibson and R. Duch, 'Anti-Semitic Attitudes of the Mass Public: Estimates and Explanations Based on a Survey of the Moscow Oblast' Public Opinion Quarterly, 56 (1992), 1-28.



socioeconomic, ethnic and valence - have distinct implications for the volatility of electorates and the success of post-communist regimes in obtaining normative agreement on the 'rules' of democratic government. Although we accept that a pre-existing level of commitment to the value of participation is necessary to get democracy off the ground, we treat the normative base of democracy as a dependent variable whose presence or absence will be conditioned by other factors, such as the possibility of electoral success or economic gain.88 The bases of party competition may therefore have implications for the stability of the new political systems in the region. We would distinguish three general cases which correspond to the clusterings identified above. First, in those countries where socio-economic cleavages predominate, there are likely to be moderate levels of voter volatility. This reflects, on the one hand, stability derived from the links between parties and social-structurally conditioned interests, and on the other, volatility due to the ability of parties to appeal beyond narrow class boundaries to the instrumental motives of voters in other classes. This ability of parties to transcend class boundaries in search of votes also facilitates continued normative commitment to democracy because it produces uncertainty regarding electoral outcomes. Secondly, where ethnically-based competition predominates, the refusal of the dominant ethnic group to compromise its authoritarian positions makes cross-ethnic alliances less likely. In these circumstances, there is a lack of middle ground on which parties can compete for votes. This suggests that there will be low levels of volatility among ethnic minorities, who will vote on issues of community defence and are thus unlikely to switch their allegiances to parties of the dominant ethnic group. It also suggests a low level of normative commitment to democracy among such voters, whose favoured parties will have no chance of winning elections and who are likely to suffer the authoritarian policies of the dominant ethnic group. The final case concerns those societies in which party competition focuses on valence issues. Here, difficulties in the transition are likely to prevent the emergence of socio-economic cleavages. This combination of economic difficulties and lack of social bases suggests high levels of voter volatility. Parties will compete, but without stable social bases, and their persistent failure to deliver economic success may lead voters regularly to switch their allegiance to parties, or leaders, who are perceived to have more chances of delivering the goods. Given that what often distinguishes parties is the charismatic appeal of their leaders rather than a superior programme, this cycle may be regularly

88 This argument is consistent with the rational choice approach to political culture described in Section i. It should be noted that other writers have also argued that success in achieving democratic or constitutional government in Eastern Europe depends on the evolution of a system of payoffs and sanctions which will make it rational for actors to accept democratic outcomes and the authority of rules. See Przeworksi, Democracy and the Market; and J. Elster, 'Constitutionalism in Eastern Europe: An Introduction', Universityof Chicago Law Review, 58 (1991), 447-82.

Party Competitionin Eastern Europe


repeated. This failure to deliver the goods also implies that normative commitment to democratic procedures is likely to decline.

Possible Outcomesof Patterns of Party Competition Volatility Low:well-defined ethnic cleavages prevent volatility. Low:well-defined ethnic restrict volatility. cleavages Mediumamongethnic Lithuanians: socio-economic limitvolatility. cleavages LowamongethnicPolesand Russians. High. High,althoughethnicfactors mayprovidestabilityif they becomepolitically important. High,exceptamongminorities. Medium. High,exceptamongminorities. Medium. Medium. High,exceptamongminorities. High,exceptamongminorities. Normative commitment low HighamongEstonians; amongRussians. low HighamongLatvians; amongRussians. High.

Estonia Latvia Lithuania

Belarus Ukraine Russia Poland Bulgaria CzechRepublic Hungary Romania Slovakia

Likelyto decline. Likelyto decline. Likelyto decline. High. Likelyto decline. High. High. Likelyto decline. Likelyto decline.

Table 3 presents the predicted pattern of volatility and normative commitment to democracy in each of the states in the region. It can be seen that this pattern corresponds to the typology of bases of party competition identified in Table 2. Thus, ethnically homogeneous states where market success is likely - the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland89- should display moderate levels of volatility and high normative commitment to democracy. A similar outcome is also predicted for Lithuania. Although lower levels of volatility are likely to be found among the ethnic minorities, successful marketization should provide the material basis for normative commitment across all sections of society. Moreover, the emphasis on issues associated with left-right politics should reduce the salience of authoritarian populism with its potentially negative implications for minority rights. A second category includes those countries - Estonia and Latvia - where
89 Poland does have, of course, a German minority residing in the territories annexed in 1945, who have a degree of political representation through Kroll's Ethnic German Party. Nevertheless, their political presence is minimal.





ethnic bases of party competition are expected to predominate. Here the uncompromising positions of the ethnic groups and their similarity in numbers make electoral defection less likely, thus inhibiting volatility across communities. In addition, democratic commitment among minority Russians should decline. Ethnically-related redistribution and authoritarian nationalism among the titular majority are likely to form the basis of political conflict. In these circumstances, Russians face continuous electoral defeat, which is likely to result in a reduction in the perceived pay-offs associated with democracy and marketization.90 Finally, there are those countries characterized by difficultiesin marketization and political conflict structured around valence issues - Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria. In each of these countries, the lack of socially-structured bases of interests in conjunction with what appear to be inevitable economic problems, suggests that volatility will be high - at least within the dominant ethnic groups. Among the ethnic minorities in these countries voter volatility will probably only occur between parties representing their interests.91Furthermore, given the expected failure of governments to deliver the economic rewards associated with Western democracies, normative commitment is predicted to decline.92The structure of payoffs will not generally be such as to support a normative commitment to democracy.93 Indeed, the combination of low levels of democratic political culture and the difficulties resulting from marketization point to mass political protest, rather than party com-

90 course, if ethnically based citizenship laws in these countries are fully enforced, the result Of will be the effective exclusion from the electoral process of the Russian minorities. Party competition in both Estonia and Latvia could then be structured around socio-economic bases and pro- versus anti-market issues. However, the evidence so far suggests that ethnic exclusion is not occurring to that extent. 91In the Ukraine the impact of ethnic factors is difficult to estimate. In the Eastern Ukraine, Russians and Ukrainians have coexisted in reasonable harmony for many centuries. It is therefore unclear if Russians will form a distinct bloc, as they do in other former Soviet republics. Regional identities may prove to be more salient than those derived from ethnicity. Ukrainian statehood is a contemporary phenomenon and consequently has fewer historical connections with ethnicity than is found in the Baltic republics. In this respect it may be compared to Belarus. 92 Unsurprisingly, at the present time the evidence concerning the normative commitment to democracy is extremely weak. Nevertheless, on two main questions that compare popular support for national elections in Yaroslavl' in 1990 with that obtained in the 1980 US National Election Study, Russians (68.3 per cent; 62 per cent) come out as far less committed to voting in national elections than do Americans (90.7 per cent; 91.7 per cent); see J. Hahn, 'Continuity and Change in Russian Political Culture', British Journal of Political Science, 21 (1991), 393-421. Gibson, Duch and Tedin's study of attitudes in the Moscow oblast' finds evidence of support for 'core democratic values', but presents no data from Western societies with which to compare their findings; see Gibson, Duch and Tedin, 'Democratic Values and the Transformation of the Soviet Union'. 93 The scale of the ethnic problem in Russia is such that it may well result in the development of intergroup bargaining procedures through which conflicts can be resolved. This may help to prevent the decline of normative commitment among ethnic minorities.

Party Competitionin Eastern Europe


petition for government office. Such popular unrest may even be sufficiently strong to make confrontation destabilizing - as occurred in Weimar Germany.94

This article has argued that general analyses of the relations between social structure and party competition in Eastern Europe are inadequate. A more useful approach is to identify the conditions under which differing types of relations between social bases and party competition may emerge. This escapes the limitations of global approaches such as the 'missing middle' and modernization theses, without resorting to ad hoc, country-specific arguments. More specifically, it has been argued that a comparative approach which stresses the diversity of economic, ethnic and institutional constraints on political developments in countries in the region can be used to construct a plausible typology of the bases of party competition. Broadly, we have identified three general categories of east European system. In the first type of country, the growing influence of marketization and the development of links between individuals and middle-range organizations in other words, the formation of mezzo-structures- is likely to result in a transition to patterns of party competition not too dissimilar from those found in Western democracies. New economic interests are likely to be in the process of emerging as marketization progresses and a new social basis to the structure of party conflict arises. This central European core approximates most closely to the pattern of social bases predicted by the modernization thesis. In the second type, the analysis suggests that the constraints under which market transition may be taking place, and the lack of structured political competition, militate against successful transition to a stable party system based on left-right cleavages derived from socio-economic divisions. In these mainly eastern European countries, politics should focus on valence issues, over which candidates compete along lines of competence and charismatic appeal. Here the 'missing middle' approach appears to provide the most plausible characterization. In the final type of country - the two northernmost Baltic states - the importance of ethnic divisions, heightened by the insecurity of break-away status, should focus party competition on ethnic or nationalistic issues. In these two countries, therefore, the most influential bases of interests are likely to be pre-communist identities relating to nationality and ethnicity. Finally, a note of caution is required concerning the theory and predictions elaborated above. If the arguments of the political culture approach are valid, country-specific cultural and historical peculiarities will have a central explanatory status. As a consequence, the predictions made in Section v - based as they are on rational choice principles - may be inaccurate. Thus, in countries lacking the appropriate cultural prerequisites for democracy, even if class-based
94G. Smith, 'Transition to What?', in Whitefield, ed., The New Institutional Architecture, pp. 1-13.



social cleavages emerge, high levels of normative commitment may not follow. Social conflict may therefore take forms that are not conducive to resolution by electoral procedures. Alternatively, in those countries where there is a democratic tradition, normative commitment may prevail even in the absence of socio-economic bases. In this respect it is interesting that, contrary to O'Donnell and Schmitter's view of the characteristics of 'founding' elections in transitions from authoritarian to democratic systems,95there have been fairly low levels of turn-out in some east European countries (Hungary, 65 per cent and 45 per cent in the run-off; Poland, 62 per cent). Recent observations in Poland suggest that there is still a lack of a participatory culture of democracy,96which seems to be related to the lack of organizations to represent political interests.97Moreover, with the exception of the Czech Republic, throughout eastern Europe there is still an absence of political mechanisms designed to protect minorities a deficit that was a major cause of problems in eastern Europe during the inter-war period. Even in Czechoslovakia, observers have been disturbed by the fact that the inter-war experience of democracy and the peaceful nature of the 'velvet revolution' have not provided a stable basis from which to construct a constitutional order.98 Whether these developments indicate a lack of commitment to democratic ideals is uncertain, given the recency of the transition and the paucity of evidence. Moreover, any patterns derived from the analysis presented here are only expected to emerge over time. Most importantly, perhaps, the relatively flimsy nature of the available data suggests that firm conclusions regarding both levels of normative commitment to democracy and the typology of bases of party competition must await the findings of more systematic and comparative research. Knowledge of the distribution of the factors identified in this article and their interrelation should contribute to the development of a political sociology of eastern Europe that takes into account the complex matrix of constraints under which parties will compete. The analysis presented here should serve as a set of guiding hypotheses for future research.

95 O'Donnell and P. Schmitter, 'Convoking Elections (and Provoking Parties)', in G. O'DonG. nell, P. Schmitter and L. Whitehead, eds, Transitionsfrom Authoritarian Rule (Baltimore, Md: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986). 96Marody, 'Perception of Politics, Polish Society'. 97 Wesolowski, 'Transition from Authoritarianism to Democracy'. 98 See Batt, 'Czechoslovakia'.