Versita

THE LEFT OR THE RIGHT? THE POLITICAL LOGIC BEHIND THE ECONOMIC POLICIES OF THE COMMUNIST SUCCESSOR PARTIES IN CENTRAL EUROPE

Vincentas Vobolevičius
Keywords: Communist successor parties, post-communist transformations, economic policy platforms, elections in Central Europe ,

Abstract

In years following the regime change in central Europe, many communist successor parties (CSPs) have adopted relatively right-wing economic platforms. This paper explores why, upon entering the game of electoral competition, the CSPs have staked right-wing economic positions – as if trying to alienate the potential electorate among the have-nots of the post-communist transformations. Specifically, I propose that CSPs' economic policy is more representative of the interests of the parties' financial donors, rather than the electorate at large. I test this proposition by analyzing the stance that CSPs take towards signing of bilateral investment treaties (BITs). By attracting foreign investment, BITs change the competitive landscape of a host country in ways that are not always beneficial to the domestic companies, owned by supporters of CSPs. Therefore I expect CSP-controlled governments to be hesitant about signing BITs. The results of the statistical investigation support such a hypothesis, as well as the larger claim of the paper, namely, that the economic policy of the communist successor parties is primarily geared towards representing the interests of their financial supporters.