The Rise of Person-Based Politics in the New Democracies: The Czech Republic and Slovenia

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Abstract

In the article, the authors address certain recent political developments in two former communist countries, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. They focus on the rise of personalized politics, i.e. the type of political conduct that is driven predominantly by the personal character of political leaders (much more than by programs and ideologies). Specifically, the authors look at the weak political partisanship in East-Central Europe as one of the key factors triggering person-based politics. They find that personalized leadership has divergent consequences for political life in a democratic polity. It is very effective in mobilizing mass support as well as in overcoming many organizational obstacles. However, its influence on the quality of the democratic process is questionable.

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