Theses Doctoral

Ex-Communist Party Choices and the Electoral Success of the Radical Right in Central and Eastern Europe

Snegovaya, Maria

What explains the proletarization (the increasing embrace by the blue-collar constituencies) of the radical right vote in the countries of post-Communist Europe? I argue that the centrist shift of the ex-Communist left parties along the economic policy dimension drives the electoral success of radical right parties in the region. I show that the programmatic shift of the ex-Communist left parties (as instrumented by the implementation of austerity reforms) opened up their traditional blue-collar constituencies to the redistributive appeals of the radical right parties. I test my argument using several different approaches. First, I examine the relationship between the support for the radical right parties and the ex-Communist left parties’ policy positions using a quantitative cross-country analysis. Second, I provide an overview of the experiences of the four Visegrád Group countries and trace the blue-collar constituencies’ shift away from the ex-Communist left parties to the populist and radical right parties over time, as the left parties became more economically centrist. I then test my argument using constituency-level and individual-level experimental survey data within Hungary. Both methods help establish that the centrist shift of the ex-Communist left parties along the economic policy dimension boosted support for the radical right party. My argument contributes to our understanding of the dynamics of political systems and the rise of the radical right parties in Europe.

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for Snegovaya_columbia_0054D_14940.pdf Snegovaya_columbia_0054D_14940.pdf application/pdf 3.08 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Political Science
Thesis Advisors
Green, Donald P.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 9, 2018