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Developing Party Structures in Central and Eastern Europe

Katarzyna Sobolewska-Myślik
Affiliation:
Pedagogical University in Krakow
Beata Kosowska-Gąstoł
Affiliation:
Jagiellonian University
Piotr Borowiec
Affiliation:
Jagiellonian University
Katarzyna Sobolewska-Myślik
Affiliation:
Jagiellonian University in Kraków
Beata Kosowska-Gąstoł
Affiliation:
Jagiellonian University in Kraków
Piotr Borowiec
Affiliation:
Jagiellonian University in Kraków
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Summary

Although the activity of political parties is a popular and widely studied issue, the nature of their organizational structures receive relatively less attention. While most research is focused on Western Europe, since the countries of Central and Eastern Europe experienced the process of democratization, there appeared a number of studies concerning also parties in this part of Europe. Paul G. Lewis was among the first authors to take an interest in this field. In 1996 he edited Party Structure and Organization in East-Central Europe, which contained several case studies regarding party formation and organizational structures of: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, and even former East Germany. Even though written in the early phases of the democratic transition, reflections concerning the organizational aspects of party formation still prove valuable. Several years later P.G. Lewis authored Political Parties in Post-Communist Eastern Europe (2000). Chapter 4 of this book is devoted to organizational aspects of political parties in the region, and includes author's analysis of party structures, finances, factionalism and relationships between models of party organization in CEE and in established democracies.

Also relevant to the study of party organizational structures in CEE coun-tries are works by Ingrid van Biezen (2003) and Maria Spirova (2007). Van Biezen discusses the formation of political parties amidst democratic transition, with particular emphasis on their organization. Her research is based on examples from Southern Europe (Portugal and Spain), and Central and Eastern Europe (Czech Republic and Hungary). Spirova focuses on the formation, evolution, and organization of Bulgarian and Hungarian political parties. Apart from specifics, the book contains insightful general reflections on the organizational evolution of CEE political parties. For instance, she shows how politicians, at the beginning phases of post-communist party formation, did not stress the importance of organizational structures. Later however, they came to appreciate organization as a valuable asset to party functioning.

Another book containing chapters focusing on political parties in CEE, which includes some discussion of their organizational aspects, is Party Politics in New Democracies, edited by Paul Webb and Stephen White (2007). Likewise, Stephen D. Roper and Jānis Ikstens published a book in 2008 which discusses the question of party financing in post-communist countries. Other relevant papers also introduce and analyze theoretical models (Kopecký 1995; Szczerbiak 1999; Hanley 2001; Enyedi and Linek 2008), and touch on other aspects of party organization (Toole 2003; Tavits 2012a, 2012b; Gherghina 2014).

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Publisher: Jagiellonian University Press
Print publication year: 2017

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