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Are the Exceptions Really the Rule? Questioning the Application of 'Electoral-Professional' Type Models of Party Organization in East Central Europe

Hanley, SL; (2001) Are the Exceptions Really the Rule? Questioning the Application of 'Electoral-Professional' Type Models of Party Organization in East Central Europe. Perspectives on European Politics and Society , 2 (3) pp. 453-479. 10.1163/156802501753510029. Green open access

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Abstract

Much writing on party organisational development in post-communist East Central Europe has argued that, with the partial exception of successor parties to former regime parties, political parties in the region will be state-centred, low-membership organisations dominated by political elites, which loosely approximate to the ‘cartel’ and ‘electoral-professional’ models of party identified by some scholars in Western Europe. This pattern of development in East Central Europe is seen as reflecting the specific opportunity structures of post-communist societies, which both shape politicians’ organisational strategies and determine available resources for party building. Using a detailed re-examination of the Czech case, this paper questions the applicability of such models. It argues that their use is problematic not simply because of inherent difficulties of model fitting, but because they underestimate the path dependent character of party organisational development in the region and, especially the extent to which viable parties appear to have drawn on organisational resources accumulated under the old regime and during transition. The combination of path dependency and post-communist opportunity structures, it is argued, tends to create hybrid party organisations, which are removed from ‘electoral professional’ type parties in a number of ways. The paper concludes by suggesting possible avenues for rethinking party organisational development in the region.

Type: Article
Title: Are the Exceptions Really the Rule? Questioning the Application of 'Electoral-Professional' Type Models of Party Organization in East Central Europe
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1163/156802501753510029
Keywords: political parties, Czech Republics, party organization
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/12951
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