This chapter spells out the central argument of the book, which is that differences in the arrangement of political institutions systematically explain variations in patterns of multi-party government across the ten post-communist democracies of Eastern and Central Europe. Specifically, the chapter will demonstrate that the institutional dispersion of political power systematically affects i) when political parties begin the coalition formation process (before or after the election); ii) how large the governing coalitions become (majority versus minority); iii) how durable these coalitions prove to be; iv) and how successful they are in securing the election a coalition candidate to the Presidency in those states (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary and Latvia) where the constitution requires the legislature to choose the head of state. The chapter places the argument in the context of the comparative coalition politics literature and identifies the ways in which the West and East European cases differ.
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