Main topic

FROM POLITICAL SYSTEM

PARTY SYSTEMS OF BALTIC STATES: THE LEFT BETWEEN ETHNIC DIVISIONS AND IDEOLOGICAL CLEAVAGES

Abstract

Author analyzes origin and genesis of the party systems of three Baltic countries: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, with a special focus on specific ideological misbalance. Namely, in two of the three former Soviet republics, left-wing parties fail to participate in the executive branch and often underperform in the elections. Cabinets of Estonia and Latvia have comprised of mostly right-wing or center-right parties for almost the entire period since independence. The opposite case is Lithuania, where the left parties are rooted in the party system, and moreover, where there is both party competition based on ideological cleavage, and changeability of the left and right parties in power. Through the comparison of three party systems, author is investigating the absence or under-representation of political parties of the left in two Baltic States, and their relative success in one of the countries in question. The paper identifies two key reasons for such an outcome. One relates to the perception of the role of Communist Party of Soviet Union (and its ideological successors) in the process of separation of a specific republic from the Soviet Union. The other is more deeply rooted in respective societies and concerns the perception of political representation of the Russian minority and, in the broader sense, Russia as a perceived geopolitical threat, leading to ostracization of left-wing parties, resulting in their exclusion from government formation.

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PERIODICS Political Review 4/2020 4/2020 УДК 329(474) 235-258
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