ÖZP 2008/1 S.11-28
Convergence and Divergence of European Party System Development in the Age of Europeanization
Keywords: parties, party systems, party system change, cleavages, volatility, europeanization
This article seeks to capture, and compare, the more recent developments at the level of political parties and party systems in Western and Eastern Europe, with a special focus on Central Eastern Europe. With regard to some aspects, such as electoral volatility, moderate dynamics of convergence between West and East can be identified with the Central Eastern European countries assuming the role of an international trendsetter. Overall, however, clear-cut manifestations of convergence have remained scarce and patchy. The specific structural and functional profiles of post-communist party systems have largely persisted. Even the dynamics of ?Europeanization?, understood in terms of domestic effects of European integration in European Union member states, have only to a limited extent developed into a catalyst facilitating overcoming the structural differences between East and West.