chapter  6
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External assistance for political contenders in transition states: cautionary tales from the Balkans


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After 1989, Eastern Europe was the scene of particularly intensive external efforts to promote democracy. It might even be possible to refer to a fourth democratic wave in which the stimulus for change was mainly external, unlike Huntington’s pre-1989 third wave of democratisation, which was mainly triggered by internal developments (Huntington, 1991). The United States were to the fore in the external sponsorship of pluralist politics – eventually to be followed by the European Union as well as party political foundations in Germany and independent bodies such as the Open Society Foundation (OSF, or Soros Foundation).