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Who Votes Left after the Fall of Communism?

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image of International Journal of Comparative Sociology
For more content, see Comparative Sociology.

The results of the Czech parliamentary election held in May 1996 were a surprise to many, due to a considerable increase of the proportion of votes cast for left-wing political parties, particularly for Czech Social Democracy. The principal objective of this paper is to examine the determinants of voting preferences for left-wing political parties in the Czech Republic compared to Hungary and Poland, countries in which the Left significantly improved its standing some time ago. The central hypothesis is that, though the effect of class on voting behavior has been gradually growing in post-communist countries, subjective factors of social stratification (subjective status and income mobility, perception of change in factors determining life-success) are still more important in explaining left-voting than one's objective location in the class structure and intragenerational class mobility between 1989 and 1993. The results and interpretations presented in this article do not take into account the changes in voting behavior in East-Central Europe that have occurred after 1996.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Sociology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague


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