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SPP 246

Author: Richard Rose, CSPP
Description: A stable party system requires people to trust institutions, including parties, but in post-Communist countries people have lived nearly all their lives in a political system that created distrust in reaction to aggressive attempts to mobilize support for the party-state. Comparative survey data from 10 post-Communist countries show that the majority of electors are demobilized, that is, they distrust parties, do not identify with a party, the modal group is a don't know when asked to express a party preference, and committed partisans are only a quarter of the electorate. The result is that electoral support for parties is extremely volatile by comparison with election results in earlier waves of democratization. This does not immediately threaten the regime, however, for even though most people do not believe they can influence government, even more importantly, they feel greater freedom from the state, which can not influence them as in the days of the Communist party-state.

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