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The Development of Stable Party Support: Electoral Dynamics in Post-Communist Europe


  • I thank Taavi Annus, Bernhard Grofman, Aníbal S. Pérez-Liñán, Juan Carlos Rodríguez-Raga, Rein Taagepera, and Jennifer N. Victor for reading and commenting on earlier drafts.

Margit Tavits is Post-doctoral Prize Research Fellow, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, OX1 1NF, United Kingdom (


What conditions help stable patterns of party support to emerge? Using pooled time-series cross-section data on election results from 15 East European democracies, the empirical analysis finds that (1) right after a regime change electoral volatility increases while the trend is reversed after democracy has endured for about a decade; (2) ethnic cleavages have no effect on stability while social cleavages affect electoral stability only during economic downturns; (3) both institutions and economic performance influence the stability of party support; however, the effect of the latter diminishes over time when democracies mature.