The Czech Multipartism in the Late 1990s



The Czech multiparty arrangement of the late 1990s continues to be, for various reasons, an interesting case of the genesis of post-communist party arrangements. The Czech Republic was (at least until the mid 1990s) considered a “model” post-communist country in transformation, which was, quite naturally, reflected in the evaluation of the Czech party system. In many respects, this party system appeared to be the most “European” of all post-communist party arrangements and therefore the closest to west-European models (cf. Novák 1997; Novák 1999). To a certain extent, such evaluation could be agreed with, as well as the thesis that this system had some remarkable and, in a way, exceptional traits within the post-communist context, in particular a simple, easy to orient and well-structured party landscape, a homogeneous right-leftist continuum (cf. Kitschelt, Mansfeldová, Markowski, Tóka 1999; Golosov 1999), a stable number of relevant parties which settled at 6 (in 1996) and later at 5 (1998), a low electorate volatility beginning with 1996 (below 10 %) and, last but not least, the fact that the Czech (post)communist party (the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia; KSČM) did not become, or did not continue to be, one of the major poles, as a result of electoral and political expansion of the non-communist Czech Social-Democratic Party (ČSSD) which from a minor party with a limited parliamentary representation became one of the two major poles of the Czech party and political landscape. This last fact was attributed major importance and interpreted as a symptom of relative “maturity” of Czech post-communist democratic polity.

Klíčová slova:
czech politics; multipartism; Czech Republic

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