Consistent choice sets? The stances of political parties towards European integration in ten Central East European democracies, 2003–2007

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Series Details Vol.17, No.1, January 2010, p55–75
Publication Date January 2010
ISSN 1350-1763
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Political representation in Western democracies is largely accomplished through and by parties. Surprisingly, however, few studies directly examine how well parties in post-communist democracies function as effective agents of representation. Furthermore, the few exceptions to this rule focus on one time point only even though the concept of representation contains a dynamic component: parties need to offer consistent choices in order to communicate with voters in ways that provide clear alternatives to voters, and that establish incentives for parties to follow through on election promises. We therefore examine party stances towards European integration between 2003 and 2007. Contrary to the predominantly negative assessments in the research literature, we find that parties' policy stances establish several preconditions for political representation in new democracies in Central East Europe (CEE).

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