chapter  7
26 Pages

The Christian Democrats

Between Adaptation and a Struggle for Survival

The Slovenian Peoples Party (SLS), whose development before 2000 was described in this chapter on agrarian parties, fluctuated during the 1990s between agrarian and Christian Democratic identities. In comparison with the social democrats on the left it can be argued that the Christian parties came to terms with liberal democracy much quicker. The historic Christian parties accented a rigid corporatism and statism, and were uneasy about market economics at best, at worst strongly anti-capitalist. At the beginning of the 21st century it was possible to observe an electoral stabilization and in some cases a recovery among Christian Democrat parties. This was exemplified by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Germany or the Christian Democratic Challenge in the Netherlands. Catholic activists with their relatively rapid orientation on mass party structures, their class-neutral appeal, and their connections, however albeit gradually weakening, to the Catholic Church. The universalism of Christian Democrats had major significance for party cooperation.