Ideological appeals or improvised messages: electoral manifestos in post-communist democracies
- Mikołaj Cześnik
Electoral manifestos are written by reason of many diverse rationales. However, two major sets of motivations can be distinguished. On the one hand, parties in their electoral manifestos are usually encouraged to present their ideological profi le. On the other hand, they often are compelled to react to the present-day situation in their countries, refl ect on current problems and propose relevant, appropriate solutions. Though each electoral manifesto is probably written due to both sets of reasons, in general it is possible to discriminate between two groups of these documents: ideological appeals (focused on long-term objectives derived from ideology) and improvised messages (focused on short-term objectives indicated by current situation). It is an empirical question which of these motivations prevail in post-communist democracies. Thus the main research question of this paper is whether in post-communist democracies electoral manifestos either are written in order to mainly present and propagate ideology, or they are rather designed with the principal aim of reacting to current affairs and problems. Consequently, two testable predictions an be formulated. According to the fi rst hypothesis parties in post-communist democracies focus primarily on ideology. According to the second hypothesis parties in post-communist democracies focus primarily on up-to-date political competition. If the former expectation is true, we shall see intra-party homogeneity (all electoral manifestos of a given party should be relatively similar); if the latter expectation is true, we shall see intra-campaign homogeneity (all electoral manifestos from a given campaign should be relatively similar). These hypotheses are tested using data from the MRG/CMP projects. Electoral manifestos from ten post-communist countries (new EU member-states), covering years 1990–2003, are analysed. They are compared both synchronically (cross-country comparison) and diachronically (time comparison). Because of the main research question of the paper and due to the character of the data multidimensional scaling is employed. It seems to be the most relevant statistical technique – it allows for effi cient and comprehensive comparison of the post-communist electoral manifestos. The results of the analysis serve as a test for the two hypotheses put forward, and help answer the very fundamental question of how and why electoral manifestos are shaped in post-communist democracies.
- Record ID
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- Studia Polityczne, ISSN 1230-3135
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- Keywords in English
- election programs, political parties, elections.
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- (en) English
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