chapter  10
11 Pages

Ethnic and Regional Parties

Rise in the West, Remnants in the East

The phenomenon of ethnic and regional parties represents a classic product of the conflict between the center and the periphery. In the conditions of East-Central Europe, the national-territorial mosaic was historically extraordinarily colorful. The politically moderate formations of the German agrarians and Christian socialists, after the fading of nationalist emotions, became part of the center-right governing coalition in 1926 made up of center and center-right Czech parties. The government also included the conservative Hlinkas Slovak Peoples Party. These were a visible expression of German political activism. The era of Communism also acted to pacify and in some cases assimilate the ethnicities. Moreover the German minority, given the opportunities provided by Polish electoral law it participates in elections through the avenue of electoral committees, backed by local social-cultural minority organizations. In 1998 the Hungarian parties finally merged, under the pressure of external circumstances due to changes in the electoral law which discriminated against electoral coalitions.