Väärtushinnangutel põhinev poliitilise konflikti dimensioon ja parteivalik Lääne- ning Ida-Euroopas
Elections are at the center of democratic political systems and therefore, scholars of politics have always been interested in reasons behind voting for political parties. Although various supply and demand side factors explain causal links, then value orientations is one amongst others. Ronald Inglehart in 1970’s observed a shift of value priorities in developed Western European societies. After growth of economic wellbeing and physical security individuals started to emphasize post-materialist values, which became important in society and political competition. One of the consequences of this societal evolution has been polarization of the population on the basis of materialist and post-materialist value priorities. This cultural change led postmaterialists to vote for left-wing parties and materialists for right-wing parties. Polarization between materialist and post-materialist values also brought two conflicting types of new parties in the center of political competition: on the one side, new left and green parties, and on the other, populist right-wing parties. Although these social and political processes in Western Europe have caught high attention among political scientists, we know little about Eastern Europe. Both types of new parties can be identified in the post-communist part of the Europe, but at least new left and green parties have remained marginal. Different historical, cultural, and country-specific factors might bring different developments in Eastern Europe, but according to Inglehart, the theory of value change is significant in different time and space. After the collapse of communist regimes in Eastern Europe, there has been economic growth about twenty years. Still post-communist countries remain economically less developed and population remains more materialist. So we might assume some movement towards emphasizing post-materialist goals in political competition, but it is clear that this region remains different on the bases of value priorities. Comparing the two regions allows us to evaluate the political impact of value priorities. The purpose of this thesis is to compare the impact of materialism/post-materialism polarization issues on party choice in Western and Eastern Europe. As Eastern Europe remains more materialist, then central issues of materialism/post-materialism political conflict is expected to be less relevant, and therefore, two types of new political parties remain marginal. On the other hand, there is variance of Eastern European countries ot the basisi of societal and economical development, thus at least in few countries importance of the new political conflict issues is expected. The aim of this thesis is to find if difference on the basis of value orientations explains differences in party systems between these two regions. On the other hand it is important to find, if central issues of materialist/post-materialist polarization have begun to have an impact on party choice in Eastern-Europe. The thesis consists of two parts. The first part, literature overview, introduces main theoretical and empirical arguments about value shift and its’ political impact, main positions of new political parties, empirical observations about the impact of value orientations on party choice, and about new parties in Eastern Europe. The first part shows that value shift has very important political consequences. It leads to the polarization of the people and political parties on the basis of materialist/post-materialist values, and rise of the new political parties. Populations’ value priorities are also analytically important for explaining the failure of green political parties in Eastern Europe. The second part, empirical part, analyses data mainly from the European Values Study. Data is analyzed using the statistical analysis programs Microsoft Excel and IBM SPSS. The main results are obtained by correlation analysis, binary logistic and multiple regression analysis. The analysis is conducted on macro and micro-level. On macrolevel, independent variables are percentage of materialists and post-materialists in the population, and dependent variables are election results of the new left and right-wing populist parties. On micro-level, in the two regression models, ten independent variables about respondents’ positions mainly in new political conflict issues, but also about economic value orientations and two socio-demographic control variables are included, variables are: post-materialism, immigration, multiculturalism, materialist left-right orientations, environment, religion, liberal/conservative values, satisfaction with democracy, education and sex. The dependent variable is party choice in the first model and party choice on the left-right scale in the second model. The main results of the empirical analysis are: • In most of the European countries two types of new political parties exist. Percentage of post-materialists seems to have an impact on the success of new left and green parties, as they are less successful in materialist Eastern European countries. On the other hand, the success of right wing populist parties is not directly influenced by the percentage of post-materialists and these parties may have electoral success also in Eastern Europe. But populist right-wing parties often tend to be successful in countries, where new left and green parties have electoral success. • In no country, neither in Western nor the Eastern Europe, is the electorate of new left and green parties clearly post-materialist, and the one of right-wing populist parties materialist. • In most of the European countries post-materialists tend to vote for the left-wing parties, but in some Eastern European countries they tend to vote for the right wing parties. These countries are: Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Hungary. The connection between materialist value orientations and right-wing party choice is less clear, but in half of the countries slight majority of materialists chooses right-wing party. • Main issues of the materialist/post-materialist political polarization are more important than left-right materialist values on the choice of two types of new political parties: this is true also in Eastern Europe, but left-right materialist values are important in Scandinavia. Issues like environment and liberal values explain the choice of new left and green parties. The choice of right-wing populist parties is explained by issues like immigration and satisfaction with democracy, Post-materialism index explains party choice only in few countries, as the other new polarization questions are important, then the measurement of materialist/post-materialist values might be the reason, why this index is not analytically very useful for predicting party choice. • Issues of the new political conflict are also important if we look party choice on the left-right scale. This is also true in some Eastern European countries, especially in Slovenia. It indicates if the mentioned issues are important in political competition in general, even if the new parties are electorally insignificant or do not exist. • In general, the model suggests that materialism/post-materialism polarization issues are less important in post-communist countries. Value based political conflict issues are less important in Eastern Europe, and it seems to be one reason behind the failure of new parties . Percentage of post-materialists might give a good hint about the success of new parties, especially new left and green parties, on the macro level. But same is not true on the micro-level. It suggests that categorizing individuals pure materialists and pure postmaterialists does not make it very powerful index for predicting party choice. As materialism/post-materialism is important at the macro-level, and the other questions of new political conflict are important at the micro-level, then it is possible to make a conclusion, that the issues of materialism/post-materialism political polarization explain the success of the new parties. In Eastern-Europe these issues have clearly less impact on party choice, except in Slovenia, and new parties remain electorally marginal.