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SPP 236

Author: Richard Rose, CSPP
Description: The Churchill hypothesis states that democracy is not a good form of government--but everything else is worse. In Central and Eastern Europe everyone has lived longer under nondemocratic than democratic regimes; the conclusion sometimes drawn from this fact is that fledgling post-Communist regimes will not become established democracies. Here, this argument is tested with nationwide survey data from seven post-Communist countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovenia. The evidence shows that the majority of people there reject the old Communist regime and approve the present. Moreover, there is no popular support for an undemocratic alternative. On economic grounds, East European countries are not as prosperous as the most prosperous countries of the European Union--but there are already very large disparities among existing member states. The obstacles to admitting these states to the European Union are not political but institutional: the need for the establishment of stable market conditions in post-Communist states and the need for existing European Union members to agree post-Maastricht institutions in the 1996 intergovernmental conference.

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Postal Address:    CSPP Publications, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, G1 1XQ, UK

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland