This scholarly volume explores the most successful group of new political parties in Central and Eastern Europe: centrist anti-establishment parties (CAPs). Sarah Engler asks how these parties survive when newness is their only selling point and focuses on CAPs' electoral strategies after their first elections.
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How do parties survive when newness is their only selling point? This scholarly volume explores the most successful group of new political parties in Central and Eastern Europe: centrist anti-establishment parties (CAPs). These parties often claim to be neither 'left nor right', strongly criticize the political establishment, and instead promise 'corruption-free' politics. Initially extremely successful, many CAPs do not survive more than a few consecutive elections
while others do endure. As the first book-length study on this type of party, Sarah Engler explores this question and focuses on CAPs' electoral strategies after their first elections. It derives three strategies of survival that lead to more sustainable electoral support: a reframed protest
strategy, an anti-corruption strategy, and a mainstream strategy.
Combining quantitative data from an original expert survey with qualitative evidence from elite interviews with MPs, party officials and anti-corruption experts, the author demonstrates that CAPs only survive when they abandon their initial strategy of pure protest. While strategic change is necessary for party survival, several failed attempts at transformation show that it is not sufficient. Ideology, seemingly irrelevant to CAPs' initial successes, eventually determines CAPs' fates. Engler
also examines how these findings have implications for other European countries.
Comparative Politics is a series for researchers, teachers, and students of political science that deals with contemporary government and politics. Global in scope, books in the series are characterized by a stress on comparative analysis and strong methodological rigour. The series is published in association with the European Consortium for Political Research. For more information visit: www.ecprnet.eu
The series is edited by Nicole Bolleyer, Chair of Comparative Political Science, Geschwister Scholl Institut, LMU Munich and Jonathan Slapin, Professor of Political Institutions and European Politics, Department of Political Science, University of Zurich.