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Wahlsystemwandel in Südosteuropa: zur Stabilität von Wahlsystemen im postsozialistischen Raum

Author(s): Jacob Venuß

Journal: Südosteuropäische Hefte
ISSN 2194-3710

Volume: 1;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 30;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: Südosteuropa | postsozialistisches Land | Wahlsystem | politischer Wandel | politische Entwicklung | Parteiensystem | politische Macht | Serbien | Kroatien | Slowenien | Mazedonien | Montenegro

Electoral systems are one of the most fundamental elements in modern democratic systems. Based on observations in Western democracies since World War II they are commonly regarded as very stable institutional structures. Thus the study of electoral systems is affected by the neo-institutionalist paradigm of stability which assumes that changes in the electoral system can only be observed in “extraordinary historical situations”. But the developments in electoral systems in Central and Eastern European countries in the past 20 years reveal a very different picture. These countries went through a number of changes in their respective electoral systems in varying degrees and do not fit into the described paradigm of stability. The article1 focuses on the question why the degree of electoral system stability is in some countries higher than in others. At the center of the analysis is the investigation of the respective electoral systems of five succession states of former Yugoslavia (Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia and Montenegro) which are checked against theoretical hypotheses about the reasons for stability or respectively instability. The most similar case design methodology is applied to this analysis, which belongs to the scientific field of area studies. On the one hand the study develops and tests four hypothesis based on rational theoretical concepts of political science which understand institutional change as driven by self-interests of the political actors (parties). On the other hand it assembles empirical data of the Balkan region to generate specific regional results in regard to electoral system stability and tries to close an obvious gap in the scientific research in this field of political science. The main theoretical findings of the analysis presented in this article are that electoral system changes are tightly connected to the question of who benefits from the new electoral systems and that these changes are thusly consciously enforced by self-interest of the political actors.
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