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Illiberal and authoritarian tendencies in Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe

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Edited By Florian Bieber, Magdalena Solska and Dane Taleski

Even though the democratic decline has been deemed a global phenomenon, the question of how it manifests itself in the postcommunist world and how it varies across different regions with divergent levels of democratic consolidation has not been sufficiently addressed yet. This book tries to fill the gap and examines the causes and nature of the deteriorating quality of democracy in Central Europe as well as the reversal or stagnation of democratization processes in Southeastern and Eastern Europe. The political elite plays a key role in initiating legislative changes that may lead to democratic backsliding. Its constant commitment to the rule of law and to the practice of selfrestraint in securing the independence of judiciary and the rights of political opposition appears hence indispensable for sustainable liberal democracy.
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15. Different Faces of Illiberal Party Politics in Central and Eastern Europe (Vlastimil Havlík / Věra Stojarová)

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Vlastimil Havlík and Věra Stojarová

15.  Different Faces of Illiberal Party Politics in Central and Eastern Europe1

This chapter provides a comparative overview of different variants of illiberal politics focusing on political parties in the Visegrad countries since 2000. It discusses the relevant populist, populist radical right and extremist parties. It also addresses the mainstreaming of nationalism and xenophobia and the subsequent polarization of Central European societies.

Keywords: Visegrad countries, populism, radical right populism, extremism, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary

Introduction

Illiberalism has again been haunting Europe. It is not only the case of the old EU members where illiberal tendencies are observable, but also the Visegrad countries after celebrating twenty years of democracy in the region. Populism and illiberal tendencies were also present in Visegrad politics in the 1990s but were limited to marginal parties or those that played only a temporary role in national politics. After the turn of the millennium, antiestablishment political populism entered the political mainstream and Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries have no longer been labelled as top pupils or front runners but rather as ungrateful students who repay solidarity with self-centredness and pure egoism. Obviously, we cannot describe all of the countries as illiberal; there are many shades of grey and variations and the illiberalism takes many shapes and patterns. ← 313 | 314 → Most attention has been directed recently towards Poland and Hungary as examples of countries where...

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