Parteien und Wahlen

English title: Parties and Voters

Author(s): Hermann Schmitt - Angelika Scheuer -

Language: German

Type: Book chapter

Year: 2012

Abstract

In large-scale polities such as contemporary nation states, democracy can hardly be organised by way of direct participation of citizens in political decision making. For the most part, democracy means representative democracy here, and general elections provide the linkage mechanism between the citizenry at large and political elites. Using data from the first four rounds of the ESS (2002 - 2008), this paper tests how the material preconditions of representative democracy have evolved in mature electoral systems of Western Europe, and in the consolidating systems of post-communist Eastern Europe. The main findings of the paper suggest that two decades after the breakdown of communism, the party systems of Eastern Europe are still in a state of relative flux, and citizens’ criteria for vote choice there are still very much of a circumstantial rather than a structural nature. Social-structural cleavages, stable party alignments, and ideological foundations of the vote are generally much weaker in post-communist Eastern Europe than they are in the West of the continent.

From page no: 209

To page no: 236

Anthology: Deutschlands Metamorphosen. Ergebnisse des European Social Survey 2002 bis 2008.