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Sharon Werning Rivera, "Historical Cleavages or Transition Mode?: Influences on Emerging Party Systems in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia," Party Politics , 2 (April, 1996), 177-208.

First Paragraph:
As the communist states of East Central Europe collapsed in the late 1980s and joined the ranks of democratizing nations, scholars initiated a lively dialogue about the appropriate paradigms for studying 'postcommunism'. The search for a theoretical toolbox has led some to the south in the belief that the collective wisdom about democratic transitions and consolidation developed for other regions might shed light on the former eastern bloc (Bova, 1991; Schmitter, 1994). Others argue that postcommunist societies are unique and should be studied separately from the standard 'transitions' literature (Terry, 1993).

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Variations in the length of the pre-authoritarian democratic period and the mode of transition to democracy.
Table 2: Comparison of the main political cleavages of the pre- and post- authoritarian periods.
Table 3: Percentage of total vote won by type of party, first two freely competitive postcommunist parliamentary elections.
Figure 1: Combined vote for successor parties.
Table 4: Economic indicators and percentage of total vote won by all communist-successor parties in first two postcommunist parliamentary elections.

Last Paragraph:
Although it is still too early to say for certain, it appears that the legacies of the pre-authoritarian period and transition mode have not been as influential in determining the initial shape of party systems in East Central Europe as they were in Western and Southern Europe. Rather, it is the legacy of the communist authoritarian period - the command economy, the decomposition of civil society and the imposition of one-party rule - that seems to have the greatest effect on the early stages of party formation. To the extent that other non-communist authoritarian periods exhibit these features, we can expect to see similarities. On the whole, however, the political reconstruction of postcommunist East Central Europe may well proceed differently from that of other post-authoritarian states, especially those in Western and Southern Europe.