Corruption and the Electoral Support of New Political Parties in Central and Eastern Europe

Engler, Sarah (2015). Corruption and the Electoral Support of New Political Parties in Central and Eastern Europe. West European politics, 39(2), pp. 278-304. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/01402382.2015.1084127

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More than 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the electoral volatility in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is still remarkably high. A considerable part of the volatility derives from the votes for new political parties, since they are very often on the winning side of elections. This article examines corruption as a potential determinant of their electoral support. It argues that the effect of corruption is twofold: on the one hand, the historically derived corruption level reduces the electoral support for new political parties due to strong clientelist structures that bind the electorate to the established parties. On the other hand, an increase in perceived corruption above the traditional corruption level leads to a loss of trust in the political elite and therefore boosts the electoral support for new competitors. A statistical analysis of all democratic elections in CEE between 1996 and 2013 confirms these two counteracting effects.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science

UniBE Contributor:

Engler, Sarah


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science




Taylor & Francis




Sarah Engler

Date Deposited:

14 Dec 2015 09:22

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:50

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

corruption, clientelism, new political parties, party–voter linkages, volatility, Central and Eastern Europe




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