University of Sussex
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Centre-right failure in new democracies: the case of the Romanian Democratic Convention

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posted on 2023-06-07, 16:21 authored by Edward Robert Maxfield
This thesis asks why some centre-right formations have been more successful than others in the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe. It does so by examining a single centre-right formation – the Romanian Democratic Convention. It adds to an existing body of literature that covers the development of political parties in post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe and to the small number of studies focusing on centre-right parties in the region. Specifically it adds to the literature on party success and failure and to that on Romanian party and electoral politics. The Romanian Democratic Convention is chosen to add new insights: it is unusual because it is a study of organisational failure and because there is a geographical imbalance in the published studies of the politics of the region towards the Visegrad states. The thesis acknowledges existing academic debate about the competing influences of historical legacies, agency and structural factors in relation to post-Communist democratisation. It aims to identify what led the Convention to first establish itself but then fail to consolidate and eventually to collapse. It draws on a range of sources: semi-structured interviews; contemporaneous newspaper reports; published diaries and autobiographies and a number of secondary sources. The thesis is structured thematically, examining the role of legacies and critical events in shaping long term behaviour by politicians (chapters three and four); organisational factors and the influence of operational objectives (chapter five); the search for a broad and integrative ideology (chapter six). The conclusions in chapter seven suggest that successfully crafting a new, broad political formation requires a degree of pragmatism, directive leadership and political entrepreneurship that was missing from the Democratic Convention because it was shaped by Romania’s transition from Communism, by its organisational structure and by differences within its leadership elite so that competing operational objectives could not be reconciled when the formation entered government.


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  • eng


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