To the top

Page Manager: Webmaster
Last update: 9/11/2012 3:13 PM

Tell a friend about this page
Print version

Why are the post-communis… - University of Gothenburg, Sweden Till startsida
To content Read more about how we use cookies on

Why are the post-communist party systems not stabilizing?

Conference contribution
Authors Andreas Bågenholm
Andreas Johansson Heinö
Published in ECPR Joint Sessions in Mainz, Workshop 31: Party System Dynamics. New Tools for the Study of Party System Change and Party Transformation, March 12-16, 2013.
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Political Science
Language en
Keywords Party system stability, Central and Eastern Europe, electoral volatililty
Subject categories Political Science


The party system development in Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin wall has put focus on the question what it takes for party systems in newly established democracies to stabilize. Some scholars have argued that party system stabilization will follow more or less automatically as time elapse and democracy consolidates, whereas others have pointed to a number of factors which sustain the level of instability. In this paper we analyze party system stability in the ten post-communist EU-member states between 1990 and 2012. The study is based on data from the 68 parliamentary elections held since the first multiparty elections in 1990. We use three indicators to capture the extent of party system stability: electoral volatility, support for new and splinter parties and the number of parties entering and exiting parliament. The first aim of the paper is to compare the level of party system stability temporally as well as between the countries. The results show that the level of instability is consistently high in the region in almost all countries and that there are few indications of stabilization. Estonia and Poland are the only exceptions to this trend. The second aim is to explain why stabilization does not seem to occur in the region. We argue that the main reason is because of what we call a logic of (asymmetric) path dependency, which implies that previous instability breeds continued instability. Both economic performance and level of corruption becomes insignificant when controlling for the level of electoral volatility in the previous as well as the mean level of volatility in the two previous elections. If these results hold in further tests, we can expect party system instability to prevail in most of the CEE countries for the foreseeable future, regardless of the governments’ performances.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

The University of Gothenburg uses cookies to provide you with the best possible user experience. By continuing on this website, you approve of our use of cookies.  What are cookies?