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Petr Kopecky, "Developing Party Organizations in East-Central Europe: What Type of Party is Likely to Emerge?" Party Politics , 1 (October, 1995), 515-534.

First Paragraph:
Much of the new literature on political parties and party systems in eastern Europe refers to them as being still relatively weak and suffering from 'all kinds of "infantile disorder"' (Ágh, 1993:242). Supported by the evidence of the sheer number of emerging parties and movements, their frequent dissolution and re-alignment, scholars talk about 'non-party systems' (Szklarski, 1992), while others warn us not to describe new parties 'in terms of normal Western criteria' (Misztal, 1992:173). At the same time, however, the new parties in east European countries have gradually assumed a central position among the emerging institutions. They have come to play a decisive role in the governance of these new democratic regimes in that the democratic electoral contest as well as the functioning of governments and parliaments is inconceivable without them. The constitutional choices made are unthinkable without the bargaining of political parties. And, as the opening citation demonstrates, a conception of democracy prevailing among the designers of the emerging democracies seems to be one in which political parties are the core foundation of the democratic political system.

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1: Development of voter preferences, December 1992-December 1994 (giving percentage of all respondents who stated that they were certain or likely to vote).
Table 1: Party membership in the Czech Republic.
Table 2: Party membership (% of electorate).
Table 3: Summary table of party characteristics.

Last Paragraph:
Although the short time perspective as well as the limited scope of empirical material presented here do not permit far-reaching conclusions, this article ends with a general postulate. The brief history of east-central Europe's post-communist development has made clear that these new democracies,similarly to established Western democracies, are most of all party democracies. Despite continuing fragmentation, which is to a varying extent common to all party systems in the region and is likely to persist for some time to come, party politics have become a vital aspect of the interactions within the new political class as well as between the elite and citizens. If that is the case, the type of party existing in the emerging democracies will also be decisive for any judgement on the systems' quality and performance.