Political values underlying partisan cleavages in former communist countries

White, S.L., Miller, W.L. and Heywood, P.M. (1998) Political values underlying partisan cleavages in former communist countries. Electoral Studies, 17(2), pp. 197-216. (doi:10.1016/S0261-3794(98)00019-5)

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Though psychological identification with parties was still weak, attitudes towards political parties in former communist countries were fairly strongly structured by the end of 1993. Different factors explained attitudes towards communist parties, governing parties, and ethnic/nationalist parties. Attitudes towards the Communist Party or its successors were influenced most by socialist values in Russia, Ukraine and the Czech Republic; but socialist values were just one of several weak and competing influences in Hungary, and religiosity had more influence (negatively, of course) than socialist values in Slovakia. Almost tautologously, the main influence upon attitudes towards governing parties was opposition sentiment rather than ideology of any kind. If, however, that explanation is excluded, the main influences appear to be economic optimism and authoritarian values in Russia, Hungary and Slovakia; and economic optimism plus anti-socialist values in the Czech Republic. The positive link between authoritarian values and favourable attitudes to non-communist governing parties is striking, however it is explained. Of the nationalist or ethnic parties whose support we analysed, support for the LDP in Russia was clearly more dependent upon opposition sentiment than upon nationalism; but attitudes to Rukh in Ukraine and the SNP in Slovakia were primarily based on language and nationalism-as also were, to an even greater extent, attitudes towards the minority Hungarian parties in Slovakia. Language or nationalist values were also a significant element in support for the MDS in Slovakia, and for the Free Democrats/Young Democrats (FD/YD) in Hungary-though the MDS attracted nationalists while the FD/YD repelled them.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Miller, Professor William and White, Professor Stephen
Authors: White, S.L., Miller, W.L., and Heywood, P.M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Electoral Studies
ISSN (Online):0261-3794
Published Online:19 January 1999

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