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Identifying the Bases of Party Competition in Eastern Europe

Geoffrey Evans and Stephen Whitefield
British Journal of Political Science
Vol. 23, No. 4 (Oct., 1993), pp. 521-548
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/194215
Page Count: 28
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Identifying the Bases of Party Competition in Eastern Europe
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Abstract

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.

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