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Institutional Design and Party Government in Post-Communist Europe$
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Csaba Nikolenyi

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199675302

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199675302.001.0001

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The Electoral Origins of Hungarian Governments, 1990–2002

The Electoral Origins of Hungarian Governments, 1990–2002

(p.61) Chapter 4 The Electoral Origins of Hungarian Governments, 1990–2002
Institutional Design and Party Government in Post-Communist Europe

Csaba Nikolenyi

Oxford University Press

This chapter illustrates the relationship between the electoral system and government formation through the case study of post-communist Hungary during 1990-2002. The Hungarian electoral system has encouraged political parties not merely to form electoral coalitions but also to build two major blocs, Left and Right, that have defined the competing government alternatives before the electorate. The chapter examines how the Hungarian electoral system has effectively moved the game of government formation to the electoral stage of party competition. In so doing, it also shows that by failing to take electoral commitments and coalitions into account conventional theories predict unrealistic outcomes about government formation in the country. Therefore, the chapter argues that the electoral system acts as a very important constraint on government formation in Hungary through its impact on strategic electoral coordination among parties.

Keywords:   Hungary, government formation, mixed-member system, electoral coordination, coalition theory

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