Communist Parties in Transition

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Communist Parties in Transition: Structures, Leaders, and Processes of Democratization in Eastern Europe Author(s): John T. Ishiyama Source: Comparative Politics, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Jan., 1995), pp. 147-166 Published by: Comparative Politics, Ph.D. Programs in Political Science, City University of New York Stable URL: Accessed: 18-03-2016 16:40 UTC REFERENCES Linked references are available on JSTOR for this article: You may need to log in to JSTOR to access the linked references.

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Communist Parties in Transition

Structures, Leaders, and Processes of Democratization in

Eastern Europe

John T. Ishiyanma

It has been five years since the demise of Communist rule in eastern Europe. Nonetheless,

the collapse of the Communist systems did not necessarily lead to the demise or

disappearance of the Communist parties. Although several did collapse, most have

attempted to adapt to new political conditions. Some reformed Communist parties, like those

in Lithuania, Poland, and most recently in Hungary, have been so successful that they now

represent the party in power. Others, as in the Czech Republic, have experienced great

difficulties in adapting to new political conditions. What accounts for the divergent paths

followed by the Communist parties of central and eastern Europe? Why have some of these

parties been able to make a relatively successful transition to the new conditions of

democratic competition, while others seem far less capable (or willing) to do so?

These questions are not simply academic for students of eastern European politics. They

have practical implications as well. First, the evolution of these parties provides an

opportunity for scholars to assess the utility of western-based theories of political party

development in explaining the unfolding events of eastern Europe. Indeed, unlike other

current "'political parties" in the region, the ex-Communist parties are not simply groups of

notables or political clubs. They have a long political tradition and an organizational history,

as well as an internal structure which sets them apart from most other political parties in the

area. However, these parties are faced with new and entirely different political

circumstances, to which they must adapt if they are not to go the way of the dinosaurs.

Second, as many observers of democratic transitions have noted, the ultimate success of

democratization from authoritarian rule depends heavily on the promotion of political

moderation within the principal political parties.' With their substantial organizational

resources and political appeal in the face of current social and economic difficulties, the

former Communist parties will play a vital role in conditioning the scope and development

of politics in the new democracies of eastern Europe. The successful transformation of these

Communist parties into political organizations that are willing to play by the rules of the

democratic "game" thus becomes a key ingredient in successful democratization.2

The central focus of this article is to evaluate two different types of explanations which

might account for the evolution of these parties. The first holds that the Communist party

(and any party for that matter) adapts itself to accord with its environment.3 Thus, whether

the party leadership has fully moved away from a connection with the Communist past

depends upon whether the incentives generated by the political, social, and economic

environment have compelled the party leadership to change. The second contends that


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Comparative Politics January 1995

conflicts within the party following the transition are largely a product of the party's

previous history. From this perspective, the degree to which the ex-Communist parties are

able to adapt depends on whether the leadership at the moment of the transition is comprised

primarily of political pragmatists who are willing to dump the ideological baggage of the

past and present the party as a credible alternative in order to take advantage of new political


To evaluate these arguments, this article begins by identifying three principal groups in

the ex-Communist party, a classification scheme borrowed from both the literature on

western political parties and studies of democratic transition. Second, I illustrate the central

features of an "environment" based approach as opposed to a "historical" or dynamic

approach to political party development. Both "environmental" and "internal" factors

which condition this process of transformation will be investigated in an attempt to explain

the evolutionary course of the ex-Communist parties. Finally, each of these arguments will

be evaluated in light of the evidence from eastern Europe.

In the selection of the national cases considered, two criteria were employed. Only cases

that have experienced a transition process uninterrupted by civil war were included (thus

excluding Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia-Hercegovina), and only countries that

gained international recognition of their sovereignty and independence before 1993 and have

undergone the transition process for at least two years were included (thus excluding

Macedonia and the former German Democratic Republic). The former Soviet Baltic

republics were included in this study for two reasons, because they are largely regarded as

part of eastern Europe (and largely regard themselves as such) and because they were the

most "westernized" of the Soviet republics and have been historically linked to eastern


The "ex-Communist" parties considered here are all those parties which have roots in the

old regime. By roots I mean that only those parties which inherited the bulk of the former

Communists' property, membership, and leadership are considered here as ex-Communist

and hence qualify for inclusion in this analysis.

Conflicts within the Party

What are the principal lines of conflict within the party? Whatever one's definition of a

political party, one thing is certain: the ex-Communist parties of eastern Europe must now

compete in elections. Hence they are faced with the necessity of altering themselves from

essentially instruments of social, economic, and political control to electorally competitive


One approach, based largely on observations of western political parties, holds that the

way in which a party evolves is a function of the political environment in which it exists.

The political environment affects the balance of political forces within the party,

advantaging some while disadvantaging others.4 A second approach, which also focuses on

the internal composition of political parties, is offered by those scholars who concentrate on

the dynamics of democratic transitions from authoritarian rule.5 This approach holds that the

character of the intraparty struggle is largely a product of historical context and the party's

particular history. For example, Huntington argues that three principal groups exist within


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John T. Ishivama

former governing parties during the course of democratic transition. In general, tensions

among the groups usually involve the struggle between "standpatters," "liberal reformers,"

and "democratic reformers." These groups are defined in terms of their basic attitudes

toward democracy. For Huntington, the key to success for a democratic transition depends

heavily on the ability of the liberal and democratic reformers in the government coalition to

fend off the antidemocratic standpatters within the Communist party.6

Ultimately, however, with the introduction of competitive elections and the onset of the

process of democratic consolidation, even the standpatters and liberals must accept the

notion that the Communist parties must be electorally competitive to survive. This change

does not mean that they must abandon their opposition to democracy and reform. Indeed,

antisystem parties of the past (most notably the National Socialists in Weimar Germany)

accepted the necessity of competing in order to win elections and thereby the power to

subsequently destroy the system.

At this point, with the onset of the consolidation process in eastern Europe, the approaches

offered above begin to converge and provide insights into the internal evolution of the ex-

Communist parties. The issue within the party (once the decision to compete has been made)

involves the debate over the extent to which the party will break with the past and compromise

its ideology to remain politically competitive. Standpatters and liberal reformers are far less

willing to condemn the past and compromise on the programmatic goals of the party, whereas

democratic reformers are far more inclined to do so to gain electoral victory. The party's

program is viewed as quite malleable, especially if flexibility is required to win election.

Standpatters view the past Communist regime as having produced more positive

accomplishments than negative ones. Moreover, although ostensibly in favor of democratic

competition, they often view such competition as part of the political struggle between

opposing poles-the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, capitalism and socialism. Within the

party they speak of a "renaissance of the socialist world outlook" and a return to the

Marxist-Leninist norms of democratic centralism.7

In contrast, liberals view the past Communist regime as generally more negative than

positive. They usually held top positions in the former Communist regime and hence are not

completely willing to condemn the past, lest they also condemn themselves. Liberals favor

democratic competition, although they oppose "anarchic" competition. Further, they have

not abandoned some future transition to socialism, albeit through democratic means. Within

the party they call for the creation of an organization which emulates the "modern European

left" (a euphemism for "Eurocommunism") to maintain the party's commitment to the

interests of workers and peasants and consistently promote internal party discipline and

ideological cohesion."

The democratic reformers tend to favor what they refer to as a "social democratic"

viewpoint. By this they mean a complete break with the past, and they often contend that the

difference between themselves and the "liberals" is their argument that there is no "turning

back." In general, the democratic reformers were not top officials in the former Communist

regime, and many joined the party only towards the end of Communist rule. The democratic

reformers argue that they, unlike the liberals, have completely abandoned the ideology of

Marxism-Leninism. They fully embrace internal party pluralism and seek to broaden the

party's social and political base beyond the confines of workers' and peasants' interests as

the key to the party's electoral success.


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Comparative Politics January 1995

What forces shaped, and will continue to shape, the relationship between these disparate

groups within the ex-Communist parties? In general, there are two sets of factors which

affect the balance of forces within the party. First, there are the environmental factors, or the

context in which the party finds itself after the onset of competitive elections. Second, there

are the factors associated with the transition process, particular to each party, which affect

the internal balance of power before the onset of competitive elections.

Environmental Factors

In the literature there are three often cited environmental dimensions which affect the inner

workings of the political party: electoral incentives (such as the offices open to competition

and the method of election), political opportunities (such as issues the party can exploit), and

the "structure of competition" between political parties (especially the strength of other

left-wing parties which might compete with the Communists for the same "niche" on the

ideological spectrum).

Electoral Incentives The basic constitutional features of a political system and electoral

rules have long been held to exert an important influence on political parties and party

systems. For example, Linz notes that in presidential systems the importance of capturing

the presidency becomes paramount, dwarfing all other electoral goals for political parties.9

Shugart and Carey note that the electoral incentives provided by a directly elected and

politically powerful presidency tend to benefit the "electoral component" of the party in that

legislative candidates enjoy "two advantages simultaneously: identification with a national

presidential candidate, and the freedom to pursue local particularism." As a result, parties in

presidential systems are not characterized by a high degree of ideological or organizational

rigidity and therefore "should obviously be diffuse and internally diverse, as well as

involved to a great degree in the provision of constituent services." W

Of the surveyed countries in eastern Europe, none adopted a presidency like those in the

United States, France, or (since December 1993) Russia (see Table 1). Like other West

European systems, the presidency has a relatively weak constitutional basis with most

executive powers officially invested in the hands of the prime minister and the cabinet.

However, there is a great deal of diversity, not only in terms of the method of electing the

president (either through direct, popular election or indirect selection by the legislature), but

also in the powers of the presidency. Of the surveyed countries, Bulgaria, Lithuania,

Poland, and Romania have directly elected presidents, and all of them rank relatively high in

terms of the "presidential power score" reported in Table 1 (46, 45, 47, and 51,

respectively). Only Hungary's presidency, selected by the legislature, ranks higher (52).

Although none of the presidencies of these countries is comparable to those of the United

States and France, if the proposition that a relatively more powerful and directly elected

presidency should better promote the aspirations of those who seek to broaden the party's

appeal and dump the ideological baggage of the past is generalizable to eastern European

ex-Communist parties, then one would expect this trend to be exhibited most in Bulgaria,

Lithuania, Poland, and Romania.

Many scholars have also observed the political effects of electoral laws. The most


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John T. Ishivanma

Table 1 Characteristics of Eastern European Political Systems

Country President Lgqislative Year of electoral .ystet Index of**

elected? structure election type Proportionality


power score)*

Albania Indirect Unicameral 1991 single-mebear/aejority NA (40)

1992 mixed 94.86

Bulgaria Direct Unicameral 1990 mixed 93.86 (46)

1991 list PR 75.67


Slovakia Indirect Bi-cameral 1990 list PR 83.92


Republic Indirect


Slovakia Indirect


1992 list PR 74.15

Estonia Indirect Unicameral 1990 Non-list PR NA (36)

1992 list PR 81.23

Hungary Indirect Unicameral 1990 mixed 84.70


Latvia Indirect Unicameral 1990 Single member/majority NA


1993 list PR 89.27

Lithuania Direct Unicameral 1990 Single meembr/imaority NA


1993 mixed 88.65

Poland Direct Bi-cameral 1991 list PR 88.97


1993 list PR 62.84

Romania Direct Bi-cameral 1990 list PR 90.93


1992 list PR 82.42

*The Presidential Power score ranges from 0 to 100 where zero represent a president with no constitutional powers,

and 100 where all powerea are inveted in the presidency. Th* scores reported are the weiqJted scores taken from

Jaeea McGregor "The Presidency in Zaet Central Europe" RFE/RL Research Reportsa 3:2 (January, 1994) p. 29. **The Index of Proportionality is calculated by summing the dlfferncc b*owean each party'* percentaqe share of

seats and its *hare of votes, dividing by two and subtracting thsi from 100. Scores were calculated for lower house


Souwces: RFE/RL Resaarch Reports 1992-19941 Foreign Broadcast Infotration Reports--Eastern Europe (FBIS-EEU), 19901993.

noteworthy distinction made in this body of literature has concerned the impact of

proportional representation systems versus plurality/majority formulas on political party

organization." The primary difference between proportional representation (PR) and

plurality/majority systems is that the former provides opportunities for political parties (no

matter how limited the scope of their appeal) to win seats in the legislature. Under

proportional representation there is electoral utility in remaining true to the party's ideology.

In other words, a proportional representation system tends to reinforce the position of the

"inflexible" element of the party, since there is less need for compromise to win election.(2

Plurality/majority systems do not necessarily require that a party broaden its appeal to

increase its probability of electoral success, but they also do not reinforce ideological

inflexibility as much as proportional representation does.

Table 1 reports the basic features of East European electoral systems for the last two

elections in each country (with the exception of Hungary, which at the time of this research

had had only one election). The general type of electoral system and the index of

proportionality, which measures the deviation from proportionality generated by the

mechanical effects of the electoral rules, are reported. 13


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Comparative Politics January 1995

The highest scores, and hence the least deviation from proportionality, are the 1992

Albanian elections (94.86), the 1990 Romanian chamber of deputies elections (90.93), the

1993 Latvian elections (89.27), the 1993 Lithuanian elections (88.65), and the 1992

Romanian Senate elections (82.42). The lowest scores are reported for the Polish Sejm

elections of 1993 (62.84), the Czechoslovak elections of 1992 (74.15), and the Bulgarian

election of 1991 (75.67). One problem with assessing the "psychological" effect of the

electoral system is that all of the countries examined (save for Hungary) have significantly

altered or overhauled their electoral rules since the first elections. In some cases (such as

Poland and Bulgaria) the introduction of such changes led to a significant increase in

deviation from proportionality. As a result, there has effectively been only one election in

each of these countries, making it virtually impossible to assess accurately the psychological

effect of the electoral system. Despite these limitations, however, one would expect that, in

those countries where the initial proportionality profiles were relatively high, the

ideologically driven element of the party would be advantaged over those who called for a

broadening of the party's electoral appeal.

Political Opportunities Another set of factors which may have an impact on the internal

balance of power within the ex-Communist party is related to political opportunities, that is,

the issues which the party can exploit. As Roskin astutely notes, two of the most important

issues around which the ideological spectrum polarizes in eastern Europe are the pace and

pain of economic reform. Indeed, the initial euphoria and admiration for rapid privatization

has begun to wain--"everyone wants prosperity on the West European market model. ...

they see the results but don't grasp what makes the thing work." 4 The economic rationale

for marketization (or allowing prices to find their own level) and privatization (turning

previously state or socially owned property over to private hands), as even their supporters

admit, can not be accomplished without some unfairness. To the average citizen (and voter)

privatization means that some new owners will benefit more than others. Further, selling

enterprises to foreign capitalists stirs anger that the country is being sold out to foreigners.

The potential for a popular political backlash against economic reform and the opportunities

these sentiments create for the ex-Communist parties are obvious. The ex-Communist

parties are perhaps best positioned to take advantage of worsening economic conditions.

Indeed, almost prophetically, the program of the Czechoslovak Communist Party (CPCS) in

1990 underlined this theme when it predicted that rapid economic reforms would inevitably

"generate sizable unemployment and result in huge property differentiation between

individuals and groups of the population. Inherent in it is the possibility that Czechoslovakia

will lose sovereignty over its national wealth, natural sources and economic activity, and

that cultural and national traditions will be lost as well."15

The temptation to take advantage of the worsening economic situation is an important

political pressure which affects the internal struggle within the party. The increasing

difficulties associated with economic reform in part vindicates those in the party who yearn

for the old ways and support those who desire a return to the party's role as the defender of

workers' rights.'6 In the internal clash with those who seek to abandon the past, worsening

economic conditions tend to favor those who view the past favorably and are far less willing

than the democratic reformers to compromise the party's ideological purity and to break

completely with the past.


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John T. Ishivama

However, as Table 2 illustrates, the introduction of marketization and privatization has

had different effects on the economies of eastern Europe. Although all of the countries are

currently plagued with the problems associated with economic reform, the hardest hit in

terms of real GDP, inflation, and unemployment are Albania, the Baltic states, Bulgaria,

Slovakia, and Romania (although Albania showed some positive growth in 1993). In

contrast, the '"pain" of economic reform has not been as great in the Czech republic,

Hungary and Poland. The differing impact of marketization and privatization would suggest

that one should observe a move toward a leadership more intent on maintaining some

connection to the past in ex-Communist parties in the countries hit hardest by economic


In addition, in the world of postcommunist politics another opportunity has arisen:

engaging in what can be referred to as nationalist outbidding in ethnically divided societies.

In general, this outbidding can take two forms. On the one hand, the ex-Communist party

can act as the champion of the dominant group (as in the former Yugoslavia and recently in

Bulgaria); on the other, it can champion the interests of minority groups and, ironically, the

"human rights" of the "oppressed" group. This position can be particularly appealing to

groups who have suffered under economic and political reform (as in Slovakia) or who have

fallen from a previous position of privilege (as among the Russians in the Baltic states). In

either case, the appeal of wedding Communist ideology with ethnic particularism is

especially strong when such a strategy can be exploited for political gain.17 Moreover, under

the conditions of ethnic conflict there is a strong incentive to "close ranks" against an enemy

or "oppressor" and to use nationalism to expel the democratic reformists. This incentive can

be seen not only in the former Yugoslavia, but elsewhere as well. For example, in the

Communist Party of Latvia (CPL) standpatters under the leadership of Alfreds Rubiks (at

least until the August 1991 coup in the former USSR) used the "national card" to warn

Table 2 Indicators of Political Opportunities in Eastern Europe

Country Averagee Averagqe Average population titular %seats in parliament

Annual% Change Annual % change Annual % change Nationality controlled by lett

Real GDP Inflation Unemployment socialist competitors

1991-1993 1991-1993 1991-1993 1993

Albania -10.43 104.17 15.39 90.0 0.00

Bulgaria -6.43 129.00 13.43 83.5 0.00


aslovakia -12.20 35.00 6.70



Re public

(1993) 1.00 20.00 3.50 94.1 18.00

Slovakia -9.30 25.O00 13.80 86.7 0.00


Estonia -12.50 436.53 10.00* 61.5 11.88

Rungary -6.10 27.50 10.66 91.6 0.00

Latvia -17.07 NA 6.00 51.8 13.00


Lithuania -19.27 427.40 10.00 80.1 5.67


Poland -.86 47.70 13.40 97.6 38.00

Rowania -11.10 134.50 7.30 89.1 17.07


Source: World Economic Outlook October 1993 Inttrnatonal Monetary Fundl 1993 World Fac~tbook.


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Comparative Politics January 1995

against the "national extermination" of non-Latvians as a pretext to seize control of much of

the party's resources, freeing it from "ideological double dealers.""

Table 2 illustrates the ethnic composition of each East European country. Poland and the

Czech republic are largely homogeneous, but there are large minority populations in all of

the other countries. In both Estonia and Latvia the minority population is extremely large.

This situation suggests that, in those countries where the opportunity exists for the

Communist party to capitalize on interethnic conflict, one would expect pressure towards

"'closing ranks."

The Structure of Competition A third environmental dimension which could conceivably

affect the balance of forces within the Communist parties is the structure of competition.

Indeed, for positive political theorists working on spatial models of electoral competition,

the presence of several parties may exert a "squeezing out" effect on political parties which

occupy the same ideological space. For example, Cox argues that if there are several

competitors crowding around a point on the ideological spectrum an incentive emerges for

one of the competitors to "defect" from this position."9 This "squeezing" effect is

particularly prevalent under a plurality electoral rule (although under other electoral rules it

also seems to apply) when a "crowding" of competitors leads to parties that seek to

differentiate themselves sharply in terms of policy platforms.21

The presence of significant leftist competition to the ex-Communist party (such as social

democratic or socialist parties) also would benefit those less inclined to compromise the

party's past because such an alternative noncommunist left promotes the defection of party

members who might otherwise support democratic reform. Indeed, the presence of

alternative noncommunist options provides an incentive for reformists to bolt to other

parties, especially if these parties have demonstrated an ability to compete effectively. This

defection of democratic reformers would tend to leave the ex-Communist party in the hands

of those less inclined to divorce the party from its Communist past.

The Empirical Record Based upon the data provided in Tables 1 and 2, a set of

theoretical expectations was generated as to the direction of the evolution of the struggle

among democratic reformers, liberals, and standpatters within the ex-Communist parties. In

Table 3 the environmental indicators, such as weighted presidential power score, index of

proportionality score, average percent change real GDP, and average annual inflation rate,

were ranked for each country from one to ten, where the value one was defined as producing

an environment which most promotes democratic reformists and ten as least. Then, the

values for each indicator were added together to produce a total score and ranking for each

country. Although this ordinal measure is admittedly crude, the rank order reported in Table

3 provides a basis for the generation of certain expectations derived from social, economic,

and political conditions.

From Table 3, Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic have environmental

characteristics that are most conducive for the promotion of the democratic reformers in the

ex-Communist parties. The next group includes Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Albania.

The countries where the environmental conditions are least advantageous for the democratic

reformers are the Baltic states. Thus, in the ex-Communist parties of the first group one

would expect the emergence of a democratic reformist leadership, whereas one would expect


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John T. Ishiyama

Table 3 Country Rank According to Environmental Indicators

Country Presidential* Index of %change Average Average % %titular %*eats held Total Rank

Power score Pro- Real GDP Inflation Unemployuent nationality by other score

portlonality leftist patieas

Albania 6 10 5 5 9 4 1 40 7

OBlgeria 3 4 3 7 10 7 1 35 5

Republic 8 2 4 2 1 2 9 28 3

Slovakia 7 3 7 3 7 6 1 34 4

Estonia 9 5 8 9 5 9 6 46 9

Hungary 5 7 2 1 6 3 1 25 1

Latvia 10 9 9 8 3 10 7 56 10

Lithuania 4 8 10 10 2 8 5 47 8

Poland 1 1 1 4 8 1 10 26 2

Romania 2 6 6 6 4 5 8 37 6

* for the Presidential power score direct presidential elections were ranked first followed by the indirect


such a movement less in the second group. The situation in the Baltic states, the third group,

at least in terms of the environment, is least conducive to the emergence of a democratic

reformist leadership within the ex-Communist parties.

Table 4 illustrates the composition of the leadership of the ex-Communist parties for the

years 1990, 1991, and 1993, and Table 5 reports the parties' performance in the last two

elections. In evaluating the composition of the leadership of each of the ex-Communist

parties, the top positions in the party's official hierarchy were considered, and the political

affiliation of the individuals who held these positions was judged according to biographical

data and official pronouncements. 2

From Table 4 it is apparent that several cases do not conform to the theoretical

expectations derived from the above environmental conditions. In the first group, the

ex-Communist parties of Hungary and Poland fit the expectation that the democratic

reformers should hold sway. However, the case of the Czech Communist Party of Bohemia

and Moravia (CPBM) does not fit this expectation. In the second group, although three of

the four cases (Albania, Bulgaria, and Romania) seem to correspond to the theoretical

expectations posited above, Slovakia does not. In the Slovak Party of the Democratic Left

(PDL), the democratic reformists have held the top leadership positions since the party's

establishment in 1990, whereas liberals have predominated in the Albanian, Bulgarian, and

Romanian ex-Communist parties. Finally, in the third group (Lithuania, Estonia, and

Latvia), despite general similarities in terms of their social, economic, and political

environments, the evolution of each of the ex-Communist parties has been very different,

with the Lithuanian Democratic Labor Party (LDLP) led by democratic reformers, the

Estonian Democratic Labor Party (EDLP) led by liberals, and the Equality/Equal Rights

Party in Latvia led by standpatters.

Although the data in Table 4 suggest that reference to environmental conditions alone is not

sufficient to explain the patterns of ex-Communist party evolution, the claim that individual

dimensions may exert a powerful influence may still be valid. For example, in comparing

the evolution of the Czech and Slovak ex-Communist parties from 1990 to 1992, we find

identical political structures and a general similarity in the ethnopolitical environment in

both the Czech and Slovak republics, which would suggest some similarity in the evolution

of the Czech and Slovak ex-Communist parties. However, a better economic record in the


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Comparative Politics January 1995

Table 4 Leadership Composition of Ex-Communist Parties

Country Successor party Party Leadership (as of 1993) Predosinant group in leadership of party*

1990 1991 1993

Albania Party of Labor Chairman: Patos Nano liberal/ liberal liberal of Albania (PLA); vice Chairsmen: Spiro Deda atandpatter

Changed nasn to Ismail LLeshi

Socialist Party of Servet Pelluhbi

Albania (SPA) 10th Shkelqin Begari

Congress, June 1991

Bulgaria Bulgarian Chairman: Zhan Videnov liberal liberal liberal Commssunist Party; Andrel Lukanov

changed name to Aleksandur Lilov Bulgarian Yanaki Stoilov

Socialist Alexander Tosov

Party (8SP),

April, 1990


Republic Communist Chairman: Miroslav liberal democratic liberal

Party of Grabonicek /standpatter reformist

Bohemia and former chair: /liberal

Moravia (CPB) Jiri Svoboda (resignad

Founded March, June, 1993)

1990. Party split

In June, 1993.

Party of the*** Chairman: Josef ecl --- --- democratic

Democratic Lotar lndruch reformist

Left. Founded, Michal Kraus

June 1993.

Slovakia Party of the Chairman: Peter Weiss democratic democratic democratic

Democratic Left, reformist reformist reformist founded in 1990

Estonia Estonian Chairman: Vaino Valyas democratic liberal liberal Democratic Secretary: Jaak Soobik reformist

Labor Party, Hillar Eller /liberal

founded 1992

Hungary Hungarian Socialist Presidium President: democratic democratic democratic Party Gyula Horn reformiat reformist reformist

Rezrso Nyers

tsre Ssekerea

Zoltan Gal

Miklos Neaeth

Latvia Equality, Equal chairman: Alfreds Rubiks standpatter standpatter standpatter

Rights Party, Tatyana Zhdanok

founded February, Sergejs Disanis 1993.

Lithuania Lithuanian Algirdis Braauakas daemocratic democratic democratic

Democratic Labor (President of the Republic) reformist raformist reaformst

Party, founded Chairman: Justinas Karosas 1990.

Poland Social Democracy Chairan: Aleksandr democratic democratic demratic

of the Polish Kwaaniewoaki reformist reforsist reformist

Republic General Secretary:

(core of Lessek Hiller DemOocratic Left


Rosania National Salvation (de facto leader) ton llescu liberal liberal liberal

Front, founded Chairean: Oleviou Ghaeran (DNSF)

February 1990. Executive Chairman: Adrian Nastas&

Split in 1992 into

National Salvation

Front (Damocratic

Reformist) and Democratic National

Salvation Front


DNSF, founded

Marchb-April 1992

* only parties having won seats are includd.

SCzech PDL split Efros CPI did not run in 1992 election.

Soureos: RFE/RL Roaarch ReNporta 1992-19941 Foreign Broadcast Inforsaton Report*--Eaatern Europa (FBIS-EE),


Czech Republic suggests that the Czech ex-Communist party would be more likely to be

dominated by the democratic reformers. Of course, neither of these expectations was

supported. A key difference between the Czech and Slovak cases could be the existence of

stiff alternative socialist competition for the ex-Communists in the Czech Republic, which

was virtually absent in Slovakia.22

Yet, if one were to examine a different pairing of cases, controlling for political


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John T. Ishiyama

Table 5 Political Performance of the Ex-Communist Parties in the Last Two Elections

Country Year %vote %seats rank political status (1993)

Albania 1991 56.17 67.6 1 primary opposition party (169)*

1992 25.00 27.1 2


Bulgaria 1990 47.10 52.8 1 part of governing coalition


1991 33.10 44.2 2



Republic 1990 13.32** 16.0 2 part of "Left Bloc" opposition

(32) coalition

1992 14.05** 17.5 2


Slovakia 1990 13.94** 14.6 3 part of government coalition


1992 14.70** 19.3 2


Estonia 1990 --- --- -

1992 1.60 0.0 7 minor party

Hungary 1990 10.90 8.5 4 opposition party


Latvia 1990 ---

1993 5.80 7.0 5 opposition party


Lithuania 1990 --- --- -

1992 42.61 51.8 1 government

(73) party

Poland 1991 11.98 13.0 2


1993 20.41 37.0 1 part of qovernment

(171) coalition

Romania 1990 66.31 68.0 1 pat of government coalition


1992 27.71 35.7 1


%seat for lowe 1 houeo. f parlia ent only. Number of seats won in parentheses.

elections E/Lto Cech and Rlovak National CouncilI)

Sourcea: RrE/RL Reaeaoch Reports 1992-19941 Foreign Broadcast Information Reports-- Eastern Europe (FBIS-EEU),


opportunities and the structure of competition while allowing for variation in electoral

incentives, then a different conclusion could be drawn. For example, as the evolution of the

internal conflicts within the Estonian and Latvian Communist parties prior to the August

1991 coup in the former USSR indicates, the existence of different electoral rules altered the

initial course of the conflicts.23 At the moment of the transitional legislative elections of

March 1990, the balance of forces within both parties was quite similar, although the

democratic reformist element in the Estonian party held a slight advantage. However,

following the elections the relative success of the Estonian Communist Party (CPE) justified

and further bolstered the program of the democratic reformists and significantly weakened

the liberals.24 In contrast, the election was an unqualified disaster for the Communist Party

of Latvia (CPL) and subsequently led to the "takeover" of the central party leadership by

standpatters under Alfreds Rubiks, who declared the program advocated by the democratic

reformists "bankrupt."25

The point here is that, if one were to focus only on a limited set of comparative cases,

very different conclusions could be drawn as to what environmental condition most affected


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Comparative Politics January 1995

the internal struggles within the ex-Communist parties. Although this technique is perhaps

effective in explaining individual cases, it does not provide a sufficiently general explanation

for differences among the ex-Communist parties of the region.

Internal Factors

This brief review of the empirical evidence on the effects of the above three

"environmental" dimensions indicates that reference to the political environment alone does

not provide a sufficiently general explanation of the evolution of the eastern European

ex-Communist parties. An alternative explanation argues that the evolution of the party is

largely a product of a historical legacy coupled with the dynamics of particular kinds of


Advocates of the "dynamic" approach to democratization have long argued that different

processes of democratic transition affect the composition of the principal actors, especially

the leaders of political parties, which in turn affects how parties respond to the

environmental pressures listed above.26 For instance, in his investigation of Spanish party

behavior Gunther found that the evolution of Spain's party system could not be interpreted

simply as a direct response to the incentives generated by the political environment. Rather,

the key factor which accounted for its behavior was the character of the party leadership at

the moment of the democratic transition.27

Thus, the way in which the intraparty leadership makes the transition affects the ability of

a party to deal with the politics of the new environment. The environment does not cause the

party to adapt; whether or not the party is able to adapt depends on the willingness of the

leadership to adapt.

From this perspective, the evolution of the leadership is a product of two related historical

factors: the long-term historical experiences of each party, particularly the degree to which

the party was compelled to reform and developed a tradition of intraparty pluralism, and the

particular features of each transition, especially the degree to which the transitional

intraparty struggle was resolved in favor of the democratic reformists.

The Historical Legacy The particular history of each Communist party affected whether

or not a tradition of tolerance and internal pluralism existed, which in turn affected the

strength of the democratic reformist impulse within the party during the transition period. In

Poland, for example, the Polish United Workers Party (PUWP) was originally a rather

artificial creation with few domestic roots. Hence throughout its history its legitimacy was

consistently challenged by the widespread perception that it represented an "alien" political

force imposed by the Soviet Union. The Communist parties of the Baltic states and the

Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party (HSWP) after 1956 were also perceived in this way. In

contrast, the Czechoslovak Communist Party had a longstanding tradition as a

"home-grown" Communist movement, although this image was seriously tarnished by the

events of 1968. Similarly, the Albanian and Romanian and to a lesser extent the Bulgarian

Communist parties had cultivated an image as "national-communist" parties, independent

from Moscow's direction.

The lack of domestic legitimacy resulted in a greater willingness on the part of the Polish


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John T. Ishiyama

and Hungarian parties to engage in economic and political reform to "legitimize" party rule,

as compared to the Czechoslovak and Balkan Communist parties. The Estonian and

Lithuanian Communist parties were also more willing to pursue reforms but the Latvian

party was not, largely because of a large immigrant (non-Latvian) population which

accounted for nearly half of the republic's population and provided a large standpatter


Thus, in the Polish and Hungarian Communist parties there emerged a historical tradition

of tolerance for some measure of intraparty political pluralism and moderate reform, a

tradition which was especially important in explaining the PUWP's and Hungarian Socialist

Workers' Party's greater willingness to accept the movement toward democratic reform.28 In

contrast, in Czechoslovakia and the Balkan states the Communist parties faced no real

imperatives to reform themselves, which tended to produce ideological conformity, as in

Czechoslovakia, or a personalist dictatorship in Communist guise, as in Romania under

Ceaucescu.29 As a result, in these parties no tradition of internal pluralism and political

tolerance emerged, nor in turn did a strong party constituency for democratic reform develop

as in Poland and Hungary. This situation was especially illustrated by the Czechoslovak

Communist Party, which prompted one observer to note as late as 1989 that there was no

perception in the party of a "desperate crisis making reform imperative at once," nor was

there a significant constituency in the party's apparatus that pushed the regime into more

"decisive action.'"30

The Dynamics of the Transition Beyond the general historical context, the degree to

which the intraparty struggle was resolved (or not resolved) in favor of the democratic

reformists during the transition period, around the time of the first elections, had a major

impact on the ability of the party to adapt successfully later. For the sake of brevity, three

cases that illustrate how different intraparty dynamics during the transitional phase affected

how the ex-Communist parties adapted themselves later are explored in this section. In the

Polish case, which is similar to the pattern exhibited in Hungary, Slovakia, and Lithuania,

the democratic reformists emerged victorious during the period of the transition, and

especially prior to the first truly competitive elections. In the Czech case the intraparty

struggle remained unresolved, which largely contributed to the difficulties the CPBM faced

in adapting to new political conditions. In the Bulgarian case, which is similar to the pattern

exhibited in Albania and to a lesser extent Romania, the liberals won; moreover, the political

environment continued to contribute to the dominance of the liberals in Bulgaria.

Poland In Poland, the results of the semicompetitive elections of 1989 proved disastrous

for the PUWP. In effect, the outcome of the elections paved the way for the dissolution of

the PUWP and the foundation of its successor, the Social Democracy of the Republic of

Poland (SDRP), by the democratic reformist wing of the PUWP in January 1990. The

leadership of the SDRP was made up of those who joined the PUWP only in the mid to late

1980s and included the current chair of the SDRP, Aleksander Kwasniewski, who had also

joined the PUWP in the mid 1980s. He at first held a number of minor positions in the

PUWP's youth wing but rose to prominence as the party's specialist on trade union pluralism

in the late 1980s. Both he and the current SDRP secretary general, Leszek Miller, were


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Comparative Politics January 1995

associated with the reform wing of the PUWP led by Mieczyslaw Rakowski, the PUWP's

last first secretary and Poland's last Communist prime minister.

Clearly, the current leadership of the SDRP is committed to divorcing the party from its

past and playing by the democratic rules of the game. Under Kwasniewski, the leadership

has successfully purged the standpatters from the party, reducing the "died-in-the-wool

communists [to] only a lunatic fringe."3' Further, the democratic leadership has been quite

flexible in its electoral appeal, drawing over new supporters with its campaign slogan for the

1993 election that "'things don't have to go on this way." The SDRP has also adopted a

democratic phraseology and has continually stressed its commitment to market-driven

economic reform. Kwasniewski himself has declared that his "strategic goal" as party leader

is to instill "proreform thinking" in the party "and its electorate."32

The fact that the SDRP has been able to purge and marginalize standpatters has provided

the party with a number of political advantages. First, the party has become a very attractive

coalition partner, so much so that the Union of Labor, descended from the Solidarity

Movement, sought coalition with the party, as did the Polish Peasant Party, following the

September 1993 election. Although ultimately the Union of Labor declined to enter into the

governmental coalition with the Peasants' Party and the SDRP, it has pledged to cooperate

with the government in parliament.33

Second, the party has demonstrated a remarkable flexibility in attracting to its ranks a

wide variety of different supporters. Indeed the Democratic Left Alliance (DLA), an

electoral coalition which the SDRP forged in 1991, represents the "pragmatic" politics of

the party's democratic reformist leadership. Although the DLA's rhetoric tends to be

oriented toward industrial workers, pensioners, and other "losers" in the transition, its

constituency includes many private businessmen. In Poland the DLA has been labeled a kind

of political "Noah's ark."''34

Third, under the direction of Kwasniewski and Miller the SDRP has apparently convinced

Polish voters that the party has divorced itself sufficiently from the Communist past to

become a credible political alternative. Indeed, as one observer notes, voters have been

"attracted by the conscious moderation and calm tone adopted by postcommunist leaders,"

making the SDRP and the DLA, "once regarded as little more than political corpses, .

now permanent features on the Polish political landscape."35

The Czech Republic In contrast, the transition in the Communist Party of Bohemia and

Moravia (CPBM) occurred at a moment when the intraparty conflict had not been resolved.

Indeed, even after the collapse of Communist rule the CPBM remained under the control of

standpatters grouped around then chairman Vasil Mohorita, who as late as October 7, 1990,

several months after the initial June elections, announced at a meeting of the CPBM that

"the period of National Understanding is over and a hard, uncompromising struggle


Tension between standpatters and democratic reformists ran high at the CPBM Olomuc

congress of October 13 and 14, 1990, with some observers predicting that the party

would split into two separate entities.37 Although the election of a new democratic

reformist leadership grouped around the former film director Jiri Svoboda, who became

the CPBM chair in fall 1990, seemed to herald the transformation of the party, the


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John T. Ishiyama

democratic reformists have since been continually thwarted in their efforts to forge a new

social democratic identity for the party. For instance, the democratic reformists have thus

far been unable to change the party's name, largely because of the resistance posed by the

standpatters associated with the former CPCS presidium member Miroslav Stepan and the

former Communist minister of internal affairs Jaromir Obzina. Together they have formed

within the CPBM the "Platform for Socialism" whose declared aim is "to return to the

conditions before November 1989.1"38 The liberal wing under former federal CPCS

chairman Miroslav Grebenicek also opposes Svoboda,39 as well as the "For Socialism"

faction. 40

In addition to continued divisions within the party's leadership, the democratic reformists

face challenges from the party's rank and file. A poll taken at the time among party members

confirmed that 82 percent of those polled were opposed even to changing the party's name.41

Ultimately, Svoboda resigned the chairmanship on June 25, 1993, acknowledging that "his

views were no longer acceptable to the majority of party members."'42

However, the party congress of June 1993 also expelled the "For Socialism" faction, and

party leaders have emphasized that the expulsion of the standpatters demonstrated that the

CPBM did not seek to return to pre-1989 policies. Nonetheless, the expulsions and the

defection of the democratic reformists have seriously weakened the CPBM.

Because of these internal struggles, the party has been unable to convince either Czech

voters or other parties that it represents a credible political alternative. Although the party's

consistent polling of about 14 percent of the vote in both the June 1990 and 1992 elections

seemed to indicate that it had found a niche among a certain part of the population that was

most adversely affected by the economic reform program of the past two years, it appears

that the appeal of the CPBM even among this constituency has declined. Indeed, according

to an opinion poll conducted in mid May 1993, if an election had been held at that time the

CPBM would have received only 10 percent of the vote, whereas the noncommunist Czech

Social Democratic Party (CSDP) would have received 14 percent, an increase of 7.5 percent

compared to the vote it received in 1992. Further, the CPBM has been unable to convince

other parties that it is a credible coalition partner. For instance, the CSDP has explicitly

rejected the possibility of cooperating with the CPBM or even with any of its offshoots,

dashing the hopes of those Communists who hoped for a partnership with the Czech social


There are two reasons for this failure. First, the divisions within the party and its inability

to forge a coherent political identity have alienated voters. Second, other social democratic

competitors, in particular the CSDP under the leadership of Milos Zeman, have moved

further to the left and become more attractive to left-leaning voters; moreover, some former

CPBM members have entered the CSDP as individuals. So confident has the CSDP become

that Zeman has argued that the former Communists, even if they were to reform the party

and adopt a truly social democratic program, "would be superfluous, since there was only

room for one social democratic party in the country and that was the CSDP."44

Bulgaria The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) represents the situation where the liberal

reformers, intent on expanding the party's appeal but unwilling to abandon the party's past,

essentially won the intraparty battles of the transition period.45 Moreover, the liberals


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Comparative Politics January 1995

continue to dominate the leadership group within the BSP, for several reasons. First, there

was little historic tradition in the Bulgarian Communist party of internal party pluralism,

unlike in Poland or Hungary. Second, there were few pressures emanating from the political

environment compelling the party to change. Third, the liberal leadership has effectively

used its political successes in the first elections to establish itself as the principal left-wing

political party, which in turn continues to justify the perpetuation of a liberal leadership.

The political transition in the BSP began with the Bulgarian Communist Party's "congress

of renewal" (the fourteenth party congress held on January 30-February 2, 1990) and

continued in 1991 at its thirty-ninth and fortieth congresses.46 Although the party formally

severed its ties with the past, purged former Zhivkov associates, and made formal

commitments to market transformation and democratic socialism, the party leadership has

remained in the hands of liberal "left-overs" from the Communist era. With the election of

Zhan Videnov, the youngest and least experienced chairman the BSP has ever had, in

December 1991, the liberals solidified their control over the party. Indeed, many have

viewed him as a front man for the BSP liberal kingpin, Alexander Lilov. The Bulgarian

press, for instance, has disparagingly referred to Videnov as "Zhan Lilov," a "Lilovist,"

and a "young Bolshevik" to underscore his connection with the liberal camp.47

Coupled with the emergence of a predominantly liberal leadership in the BSP has been the

marginalization of the democratic reformist wing of the party. Although several

representatives of the most prominent exponents of "radically" transforming the party-the

Alternative Socialist Association, Road to Europe, and Movement for Democratic Socialism

(DEMOS) factions-are represented in the party's supreme council, they have been

consistently defeated in their efforts to break completely with the party's past and appear to

have only a limited influence over party policy formation. Their weakness is due to the

rather informal and divided organization of the democratic reformists within the BSP,

although in 1992 these factions coalesced in the Association for Social Democracy faction

(ASD). Further, the democratic reformists appear to be relatively weak among the party's

rank and file, evidenced by the overwhelming majorities which consistently rejected

proposals for radical change and voted against most of the figures associated with reform

factions in the party at the thirty-ninth and fortieth congresses. One fact that clearly emerged

was that such groups as the Road to Europe and the Alternative Socialist Association, which

received a great deal of media attention, were composed almost exclusively of Sofia

intellectuals with little following in the provincial party apparatus.48

Despite large differences between the liberals and the democratic reformists within the

BSP over several key issues, the democratic reformists appear reluctant to separate from the

BSP, preferring to attempt to reform the party from within. However, this reluctance has not

prevented leaders of the ASD to warn of a growing "re-Bolshevization" of the BSP

leadership and the growth of a "certain nationalistic deviation" in the party as a whole."49

The future of the ASD within the BSP is highly problematic. As one observer notes, it will

depend on whether the democratic reformists continue to be "content with bolstering the

party's standing while at the same time having only limited influence over policy

formation. "50

The liberal party leadership of the BSP, unlike the democratic reformist leadership in the

Polish, Hungarian, Slovakian, and Lithuanian ex-Communist parties, has predictably not

attempted to broaden its political base. Although the party formed an electoral coalition in


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John T. Ishiyama

1991 with eight other tiny parties, these coalition partners for the most part were silent

during the campaign and occupied only a few positions on the BSP election list. Further,

although the party has at times formed a legislative coalition of convenience with the

Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF, Bulgaria's third largest party,

cooperation between the two has been for the most part uneasy. This uneasiness is due in

part to the BSP's past support of extreme nationalists, particularly in 1991 and 1992, and the

BSP's opposition to the decision to allow the MRF to compete in the 1991 elections.5'

There are several reasons why the BSP has followed neither the Polish and Hungarian

road to adaptation nor the Czech refusal to adapt. The Bulgarian political environment has

not exerted as great a pressure to adapt in the direction of a democratic reformist party as in

Poland and Hungary. Unlike the ex-Communists in Poland, the BSP was relatively

successful in the first elections, garnishing 106 of the 240 parliamentary seats in 1991, and

has done increasingly well in public opinion polls since then, thus further legitimizing liberal

rule in the BSP.52 Moreover, unlike the cases of the SDRP and the Czech ex-Communist

party, the Bulgarian Socialist Party has not had to contend with other left-wing alternatives;

it has therefore had little incentive to alter its position on the political spectrum, while at the

same time groups like the ASD have been prevented from defecting from the party's ranks.

As a result, the BSP has remained a relatively cohesive and powerful political force which

will continue to have a significant impact on the course of Bulgarian politics for the

foreseeable future.

Discussion and Conclusions

In reviewing the empirical evidence thus far, it is clear that reference to environmental

factors alone does not sufficiently explain the evolution of the ex-Communist parties during

the course of democratic transition and consolidation. It would be wrong to say that

environmental pressures played no role in intraparty conflicts. Indeed, environmental

conditions created the context to which the ex-Communist parties have had to adapt.

However, the political environment did not cause the ex-Communist parties to adapt.

Rather, their ability to adapt to particular political circumstances was due largely to the

dynamics of the transition period. For instance, the collapse of Communist rule led to the

emergence of a democratic reformist leadership in the SDRP which could adapt and thrive in

the political conditions of postcommunist Poland. By fostering a new image for the party

and by being flexible in forming political coalitions, the SDRP represents a model of a

"successful" ex-Communist party. In contrast, the Czech ex-Communist party has proven to

be unable to adapt, largely because of the persistence of intraparty conflicts among

standpatters, liberals, and democratic reformists. The party has been unable to shed its

tarnished past, leaving it politically isolated and in decline.

In Bulgaria, the BSP, like the SDRP in Poland, has adapted "successfully." However, its

adaptation has not followed the same process as in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and

Lithuania. The liberals in Bulgaria rather than the democratic reformists won the transitional

intraparty struggle. However, in contrast to the CPBM, their victory has led, not to the

decline of the BSP, but rather to its success, largely because the political environment has

not compelled the party to shed its connection with the past. For example, the absence of

strong left-wing competitors has certainly helped to prevent an exodus of democratic


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Comparative Politics January 1995

reformists from the BSP, forestalling the fragmentation that has characterized the CPBM.

Further, electoral success has strengthened liberals in the party, rather than standpatters or

democratic reformists.

These observations suggest that the evolution of the ex-Communist parties is a product of

the interaction of the dynamics of intraparty struggle during the democratic transition with

the political environment which these parties face. Indeed, like ships which set out from

port, the future evolution of the ex-Communist parties depends heavily on their ability to

adapt to adverse conditions. Some are designed well and float; others are designed poorly

and sink. However, whether they float or sink also depends on the conditions they

face-rough seas for some, calm for others. Yet, unlike ships, the ex-Communist parties

will also affect the seas upon which they travel. Indeed, whether they play a constructive or

destructive role in further democratization depends heavily on how their internal

metamorphoses are ultimately resolved.


The author would like to thank Brian D. Silver, Marijke Breuning, and Jonathan E. Monroe for their invaluable

assistance in preparing this manuscript.

1. Samuel Huntington, "How Do Countries Democratize?," Political Science Quarterly. 56 (Winter 1991-1992).

2. See Giovanni Sartori, "European Political Parties: The Case of Polarized Pluralism," in Joseph LaPalombara and

Myron Weiner, eds., Political Parties and Political Development (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966), pp.

143-144: S. M. Lipset and Stein Rokkan "Cleavage Structures, Party Systems and Voter Alignments: An

Introduction," in Seymour Martin Lipset and Stein Rokkan, eds., Parry Systems and Voter Alignments: Cross-National

Perspectives (New York: Free Press, 1967), p. 4.

3. See Otto Kirchheimer, "The Transformation of the Western European Party Systems," in LaPalombara and

Weiner, eds.

4. Joseph A. Schlesinger, "On the Theory of Party Organization," The Journal of Politics, 46 (Fall 1984).

5. See Donald Share and Scott Mainwaring," "Transitions through Transaction: Democratization in Brazil and

Spain," in Wayne A. Selcher, ed., Political Liberalization in Brazil: Dynamics, Dilemmas and Future Prospects

(Boulder: Westview Press, 1986); Juan J. Linz, "Crisis, Breakdown and Reequilibration," in Juan J. Linz and Alfred

Stepan, eds., The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978);

Dankwart A. Rustow, "Transitions to Democracy: Toward a Dynamic Model," Comparative Politics, 2 (April 1970),


6. Huntington, pp. 588-589.

7. See Milada Anna Vachudova, "Divisions in the Czech Communist Party," RFE/RL Research Report, 2

(September 17, 1993), 28-33.

8. See Kjell Engelbrekt and Rada Nikolaev, "Bulgaria: Socialist Party Elects New Leader," RFE/RL Research

Report, 1 (January 17, 1992), 30.

9. Juan J. Linz, "The Perils of Presidentialism," Journal of Democracy, I (Winter 1990).

10. Matthew Sobert Shugart and John M. Carey, Presidents and Assemblies: Constitutional Design and Electoral

Dynamics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992), p. 223.

11. On the political consequences of electoral laws, see Maurice Duverger, "What Is the Best Electoral System?,"

in Arend Lijphart and Bernard Grofman, eds., Choosing an Electoral System: Issues and Alternatives (New York:

Praeger, 1984); Maurice Duverger, Political Parties (New York: Wiley, 1954); Douglas Rae, The Political

Consequences of Electoral Laws (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967). On the effects of electoral laws on party

organization, see especially Schlesinger; also, Angelo Panebianco, Political Parties: Organization and Power

(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988).

12. Not all proportional representation systems produce "ideologized" parties. For example, the single transferable

vote system (STV) employed in Ireland and Malta and in the Estonian transitional election of 1990 tends to localize

and personalize politics. In Ireland it has resulted in internally diverse political parties and the dominance of the


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John T. Ishiyama

electoral component of the major Irish parties. For a description of STV and its effects, see R. S. Katz, A Theory of

Parties and Electoral Systems (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980).

13. The index of proportionality and its complement D are most often used to measure the Duverger "mechanical

effect" of electoral rules, which refers to the tendency of certain electoral systems to reward larger parties and penalize

smaller ones. However, one of the key weaknesses of this measure is its sensitivity to the number of parties competing.

Nonetheless, these measures are most commonly used and will be employed here. See Richard Rose, "Electoral

Systems: A Question of Degree or Principle?," in Lijphart and Grofman, eds., pp. 73-83; Rein Taagepera and

Matthew Shugart, Seats and Votes: The Effects and Determinants of Electoral Systems (New Haven: Yale University

Press, 1989), pp. 260-263.

14. Michael G. Roskin, "The Emerging Party Systems of Central and Eastern Europe," East European Quarterly,

27 (March 1993), 58.

15. CTK, November 4, 1990, in Foreign Broadcast Information Service-Eastern Europe (FBIS-EEU), Nov. 5,

1990, p. 22.

16. The expectation that the party would benefit from economic difficulties was expressed, for example, at a meeting

of the central committee of the CPCS, when during a discussion centered around "winning the people's trust" one

unidentified speaker proclaimed: "Let us not reckon, for example, that when the workers find themselves in

difficulties, they will not be drawn to the Communist Party." Rude Pravo, Sept. 3, 1990, pp. 1-2, in FBIS-EEU Sept.

11, 1990, p. 12.

17. Donald L. Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), pp. 303-304.

18. Statement reported in Moscow TASS, Dec. 1, 1990, in Foreign Broadcast Information Service-Soviet Union

(FBIS-SOV), Sept. 10, 1990.

19. Gary W. Cox, "Electoral Equilibrium under Alternative Voting Institutions," American Journal of Political

Science, 31 (February 1987), 82-108.

20. Ibid.

21. These data were taken primarily from English-language sources, particularly RFE/RL Research Reports,

1992-1994, FBIS-EEU Daily Reports, 1990-1993, FBIS-Soviet Union, 1990-1991, and FBIS-Central Eurasia Daily

Reports, 1992-1993.

22. Jan Obrman "Czech Opposition Parties in Disarray," RFE/RL Research Report, 2 (April 16, 1993), 1-5; Sharon

Fisher, "Is Slovakia Headed for New Elections?," RFE/RL Research Report, 2 (August 13, 1993); Jiri Pehe,

"Czechoslovakia's Changing Political Spectrum," RFE/RL Research Report, 1 (January 31, 1992).

23. In the Baltic states there were considerable differences in the kinds of electoral rules employed. In Latvia

traditional Soviet rules (absolute majority in one seat districts) were used, whereas in Estonia the single transferable

vote system was employed for the 1990 supreme council elections. The single transferable vote system is a variation

of proportional representation.

24. See John T. Ishiyama, "Founding Elections and the Development of Transitional Parties: The Cases of Estonia

and Latvia, 1990-1992," Communist and Post-Communist Studies, 26 (September 1993).

25. Ibid.

26. See Rustow, p. 355; Linz; Huntington, pp. 583-585. See also Guillermo O'Donnell and Philippe C. Schmitter,

"Convoking Elections (and Provoking Parties)," in Guillermo O'Donnell, Philippe C. Schmitter, and Laurence

Whitehead, eds., Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Prospects for Democracy, vol. 4 (Baltimore: The Johns

Hopkins University Press, 1986), p. 8.

27. Richard Gunther, "Electoral Laws, Party Systems and Elites: The Case of Spain," American Political Science

Review, 83 (September 1989), 845.

28. Karen Dawisha, Eastern Europe, Gorbachev, and Reform: The Great Challenge, 2nd ed. (Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press, 1990), ch. 5.

29. See Vojtech Mastny, "Eastern Europe and the West in Perspective of Time," Sarah Meiklejohn Terry, "The

Future of Poland: Perestroika or Perpetual Crisis?," and Charles Gati, "Reforming Communist Systems: Lessons from

the Hungarian Experience," all in William E. Griffith, ed., Central and Eastern Europe: The Opening Curtain

(Boulder: Westview Press, 1989).

30. H. Gordon Skilling, "Czechoslovakia between East and West," in Griffith, ed., pp. 259-261.

31. Louisa Vinton, "Pawlak and Kwasniewski: How 'Postcommunist' Are They?," RFE/RL Research Report, 2

(October 29, 1993), 29.

32. Gazeta Wyborcza, Mar. 3, 1994, quoted in Louisa Vinton, "Power Shifts in Poland's Ruling Coalition,"

RFE/RL Research Report, 3 (March 18, 1994), 14.


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Comparative Politics January 1995

33. Anna Sabbat-Swidlicka, "Pawlak to Head Poland's 'Postcommunist' Government," RFE/RL Research Report, 2

(October 29, 1993), 26-27.

34. Louisa Vinton, "Poland Goes Left." RFE/RL Research Report, 2 (October 8, 1993). 22.

35. Ibid., pp. 22-23.

36. CTK, Oct. 7. 1990.

37. Jiri Pehe, "Changes in the Communist Party," Report on Eastern Europe, 48 (November 30, 1990).

38. Jan Obrman, "Czech Opposition Parties in Dissarray," RFE/RL Research Report, 2 (April 16, 1993), 2.

39. Ibid.

40. Milada Anna Vachudova, "Divisions in the Czech Communist Party," RFE/RL Research Report, 2 (September

17. 1993), 30-32.

41. Obrman, pp. 1-5.

42. Vachudova, p. 31.

43. Ibid., pp. 28-30.

44. Ibid., p. 31.

45. Kjell Engelbrekt, "Bulgaria's Communists: Coming or Going?," RFE/RL Research Report, 2 (May 21, 1993).

46. With the change of the party's name from the Bulgarian Communist party to the Bulgarian Socialist Party party

congresses were also renumbered to represent the party's continuity with the precommunist Bulgarian Socialist Party.

47. Kjell Engelbrekt and Rada Nikolaev, "Bulgaria: Socialist Party Elects New Leader," RFE/RL Research Report,

I (January, 1992), 29.

48. Englebrekt, pp. 40-41.

49. Quoted in ibid., p. 41.

50. Ibid.

51. See National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and International Republican Institute, The October

13, 1991 Legislative and Municipal Elections in Bulgaria (Washington, D.C.: National Democratic Institute for

International Affairs, 1992), pp. 25-26.

52. Engelbrekt, p. 37.


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