Party Members in Bulgaria, Slovakia and Czech Republic

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 9:15 AM
Room: Booth 45
Oral Presentation
Petia GUEORGUIEVA , New Bulgarian University, Sofia, Bulgaria
Political parties in ECE countries are assessed to be unstable, weakly entrenched into the civil society, very much attached to the state (Hafner: 2001) and with low levels of members (Brezen and all.). Political parties in ECE countries are even described as “party with no members” (Cabada: 2013). This is problematic for the political participation, the levels of representativeness and the aggregation and the expression of different civic groups and interests. In general, parties in ECE countries are not implementing formal rules for equal representation of young people, woman and minorities. According to some researches the boundaries between statutes of formal party membership and other forms of activism like sympathizers or citizen’s involvement are blurred because the members don’t matter. Parties in ECE countries are also pointed as based on clientelistic networks and patronage. The paper proposed aims to analyze party members and party policies and practices to sustain and extend the membership in comparative perspective in the case of Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The comparison will be focused on:
  1. Forms of involvement  in the political parties in Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic (formal membership, peripheral organizations of youth, woman; and other)
  2. Practices of attracting party members in Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic:  statutes; rules; new innovative techniques
  3. The social-economic, age and gender profile of party members of the three countries

The comparison will encompass parliamentary parties represented into the last three parliaments in Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The main research question is how do political parties in studied countries deal with low membership issues?