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Participation of Populist Radical Right Parties in Coalition Governments in the Post-Socialist States of Central and Eastern Europe in 2000-2019: Do National Party Systems Matter?

Student: Ilia Viatkin

Supervisor: Anna A. Dekalchuk

Faculty: Saint-Petersburg School of Social Sciences and Area Studies

Educational Programme: Political Science and World Politics (Bachelor)

Final Grade: 10

Year of Graduation: 2021

Albeit the research on populist radical right parties (PRRPs) in European democracies is truly multi-faceted, an explanation of how these parties get into government has so far received limited scholarly attention. Furthermore, extant studies relying on the classic actor-centered theories of coalition formation overlook the specifics of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and, therefore, yield mediocre explanatory capacity. In turn, our paper explores the conditions of PRRPs’ cabinet inclusion in CEE from the perspective of a structural factor of the national party systems. We employ means of a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) to examine 34 instances of coalition government formation in 11 CEE states during 2000–2019. Empirical findings identify the low level of clustering and the presence of centrifugal tendencies in the party system as necessary conditions for PRRPs’ cabinet participation. Being combined with the idiosyncratic conjunctions of other factors, above all the high salience of the GAL–TAN cleavage and the high polarization on immigration or European integration, they produce four constellations of party system features, facilitating PRRPs’ ascension to the government. Two of them emphasize the crucial role of the numerical dimension of a party system while the rest two accentuate ideology-related factors. A similar distinction is applicable to the interpretation of configurations of party system features that prevent PRRPs’ involvement, accentuating the role of the high level of clustering, large center-right party, and ideological non-congruence between PRR and formateur parties. The mechanisms of PRRPs’ government participation are further refined through the post-QCA deviant case studies.

Full text (added May 16, 2021)

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