In the first two post-communist decades, party politics in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) displayed a remarkable degree of variation. Some party systems were stable, others were unstable, and others such as Slovakia showed stability in their instability. Although many of the widely used frameworks for explaining the development of party politics in CEE including legacy-based approaches, those stressing the exit from communism, institutional frameworks, the impact of the European Union, and accounts based on cleavages all have their merits, they fall short of a fully satisfactory explanation. An analysis of patterns of party politics in Slovakia not only highlights both the importance of the politics of independence and the (lack of) strategic crafting on the part of party leaders, but also underlines the need to examine the fate of individual parties. Central to party durability are organisation, leadership, and being a standard bearer on a major issue divide of programmatic competition.
- party politics
- European Union