This major study examines one of the most surprising developments in East Central European politics after the democratic transitions of 1989: the completely unexpected regeneration of the former communist parties. After the collapse of the communist regimes in 1989, these ruling communist parties seemed consigned to oblivion. However, confounding scholarly and popular expectations, all of these parties survived. Some have even returned to power. This in-depth, comparative study systematically analyzes the trajectories of four cases: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary (with additional examination of other communist party successors). Relying on extensive, and unprecedented, primary research, this analysis employs a consistent analytical framework that combines the peculiarities of the post-socialist cases with broad theoretical concerns of institutional analysis, democratic transitions and consolidation, and party politics.
• Was the first systematic, comparative analysis of ancient regime institutions in new democracies • Unprecedented empirical research • Brings back elites and organizational transformation into the analysis of institutional change, party politics, and democratic consolidation
1. The roots of regeneration: communist practices and elite resources; 2. Breaking with the past, reorganizing for the future; 3. Developing programmatic responsiveness; 4. Convincing the voters: campaigns and elections; 5. Parliamentary effectiveness and coalitions; Conclusions: succeeding in democracy.
'Well-documented, and written in a smooth and accessible manner, this book will suit a wide audience.' Survival
' … excellent comparative work.' International Affairs
'This is a superlative volume in both detail and scope. It is exhaustively researched, impressively synthesising interview data, archival material, historical sources, content analysis and comparative politics literature. Interesting and innovative empirical and theoretical points abound … this book has set a standard hard to surpass.' Luke March, University of Edinburgh (Electronic newsletter of the ECPR-SG on Extremism and Democracy)
'Anna Gryzmala-Busse has produced a well-researched, intelligently argued monograph, which should be compulsory reading for anyone trying to understand the fate of the former communists in East-Central Europe.' Nations and Nationalism
'… this book is an exemplary piece of social science, in both the clarity of its comparative structure and in the thoroughness of its research …'. Slavonica
'… a tour de force in both the depth and breadth of its empirical research and its theoretical acumen.' Party Politics