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SPP 259

Author: Peter Mair, Leiden U., The Netherlands
Description: First, and obviously, the democratization process of post-Communist Europe is sui generis, because it occurs in a situation in which there is no civil society. Secondly, electorates are open to the point of volatility, in the absence of strong social cleavages of the sort emphasized by Lipset and Rokkan, and with non-Communist parties having no organizational basis for support. A third difference is that there are great opportunities for party splitting as well as party formation. Finally, the legacy of Communism may well encourage parties to opt for conflictual rather than consensual relations with other parties, thus making for instability in governing coalitions.

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