Communist Successor Parties And Coalition Formation In Eastern Europe

Authors

  • JAMES N. DRUCKMAN,

    1. Northwestern University
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    • James N. Druckman (druckman@northwestern.edu) is Associate Professor of Political Science and Andrew Roberts (aroberts@northwestern.edu) is Assistant Professor of Political Science, both at Northwestern University, 601 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208.

  • ANDREW ROBERTS

    1. Northwestern University
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    • James N. Druckman (druckman@northwestern.edu) is Associate Professor of Political Science and Andrew Roberts (aroberts@northwestern.edu) is Assistant Professor of Political Science, both at Northwestern University, 601 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208.


Abstract

One of the most distinctive features of new democracies is the presence of political parties associated with the old, repressive regime. This article investigates whether or not the Eastern European variant of these parties, which we call communist successor parties (CSPs), has affected coalition politics. It finds that CSPs do have significant effects on the dynamics of coalition formation. CSPs are less likely than other parties to be included in governing coalitions; coalitions that include CSPs are more likely to be oversized (that is, to include superfluous parties); and CSPs that make it into government are penalized, insofar as they receive less than their fair share of governing portfolios. We attribute these results to the salience of the regime divide—the affective dislike of many citizens for the legacies of communism. Our results extend research on coalition behavior to Eastern European contexts and show how affective dislike combined with vote-seeking motivations can affect governing behavior.

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