rss_2.0Politics in Central Europe FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Politics in Central Europe in Central Europe Feed Parameters vs Voting Behaviour in the Polish Presidential Election in 2020: Poviat level analysis<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Voting behaviour is affected by various factors and the effect varies in individual countries. Economic and geographic factors are among the major criteria taken into account in electorate segmentation. The present study analyses them in the case of the Polish presidential election in 2020, held under the circumstances of strong polarisation within the society and controversies surrounding the rule-of-law and democratic standards. The present study analyses voter turnout and results of the second round of the election, focusing on the subregional level of poviats (counties). The analysis considers macroeconomic factors (such as GDP per capita, unemployment rate, average remuneration), financial condition of the local government (measured by budgetary revenues) and urbanisation (comparing the biggest cities to other counties). The findings confirm correlation between the macroeconomic parameters of the subregion and voter turnout. In the case of voting results, the hypotheses concerning macroeconomic parameters and the status of the biggest cities are confirmed, but there’s no evidence of correlation of the average remuneration on the poviat level and support for the centre-liberal candidate.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue the state of emergency create an opportunity for democratic erosion? Lessons from post-communist Central and Southeast Europe<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The paper’s key puzzle is the variation in lockdown-related democratic decline in the region of Central and Southeast Europe given the incumbents’ ideological and regime (dis)similarity. Why did similar regimes not respond to the pandemic in the same manner by using the opportunity to grab more executive power and diminish the authority of other institutions? While some argue that a state of emergency provides an ideal opportunity for democratic decline due to reduced costs, others believe that autocratic regimes with a ‘pre-existing condition for autocracy’ are more vulnerable. To contribute to this discussion, I examine three examples from post-communist Central and Southeast Europe (Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia) during the pandemic-related state of emergency and lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. I consider several relevant factors, the most important of which is the prospect of winning the next election. To erode democracy, autocratic incumbents must feel insecure about the outcome of the next election to use the opportunity created by the state of emergency. If they are uncertain of victory, they may prefer to expand their executive powers during the state of emergency, thus undermining democracy.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Respect to Nazi Allusions: The Changing Emotional Climates of Fidesz Towards Germany after 1990<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper aims to enhance our understanding of the foreign policy of Hungary by looking at the emotional underpinnings of the relationship between Fidesz and Germany. Inspired by the ‘emotional turn’ in social sciences in general, and IR in particular, this paper charts the changing ways in which Fidesz politicians (both in government and opposition) have perceived Germany and German politics on an emotional level since 1990. We show how a mostly positive emotional climate before 2010 slowly turned into anger, culminating in repeated allusions to Germany’s Nazi past. The main question is: how can we account for the fluctuations in the way Fidesz politicians have perceived Germany over the past three decades? While ‘rational’ policy disagreements have certainly played a part (i.e. on migration), they cannot explain on their own the ever intensifying anger on the part of Fidesz decision-makers, especially as the two countries are still close political and economic partners and share a wide range of common interests. Complementing rational approaches, we propose that ‘collective narcissism’ informs the general emotional disposition of key Fidesz figures since 2014, leading to a continuing estrangement between the successive Orbán governments and its German partners.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Distance and Representation in Closed PR List: Revisiting the U-Curve Argument<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The authors are testing the patterns of geographical representation in single nationwide district closed-list PR systems, in the framework of an earlier study made by Latner and McGann (2005), who suggested that MPs mostly reside in central metropolitan areas, as well as in distant regions, to the detriment of descriptive representation of areas adjacent to the capital. In this way, spatial distance serves as an incentive for parties to nominate lists comprised mostly of candidates from metropolitan urban centres who can easily reach the mid-distance municipalities for campaigning and constituency service, but also of those candidates residing in peripheral regions in which there is some sort of political or ethno-cultural saliency, prompting the voters to prefer their local candidates over capital city politicians. Authors are offering a novel approach of measuring and comparing spatial distance to the data on representation of local administrative units and regional subdivisions of four countries (Montenegro, Netherlands, Serbia and Slovakia). While the findings indeed indicate overrepresentation of capital cities and underrepresentation of neighbouring areas, the representation of peripheral areas is not significantly pronounced and seemingly depends more on a contextual case-to-case basis than on a general pattern related to spatial distance producing political or ethno-cultural saliency.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry in the Austrian National Council – Influence and Impact from the Perspective of the Austrian National Council Members<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Committees of inquiry in the Austrian National Council gained a significant upgrade through a reform in 2015: for the first time, a parliamentary minority can now demand the establishment of a committee of inquiry. This reform meant not only a strengthening of control rights, but also an increase in parliamentary investigations in Austria. The aim of this article is to shed light on the parliamentary perspective and to deepen the understanding of investigative committees. In this way, it is to be shown which potentials, but also weaknesses, can be found in the investigative instrument from the MPs’ point of view. A first-time survey of members of committees of inquiry showed that the perceptions of the reform and the democratic benefits differed greatly between the governing party ÖVP and the opposition party SPÖ. The increasing polarisation of the political debate also led to a further divergence in the approval or rejection of the investigative instrument. These developments may not only result in a weakening of the investigative instrument, but also directly challenge parliamentary democracy.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue and sentiments of the Twitter communication by German Chancellor Scholz during the Russian invasion of Ukraine<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In a complex information environment, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine presents a major challenge to the communication of political leaders throughout the world. The objective of this article is to analyse the frames and sentiments used by German chancellor Olaf Scholz, employing a novel data set of his Twitter communication (N = 612) during the Russian invasion of Ukraine between 24 February 2022 and 24 February 2023. A combination of computational text analysis approaches with natural language processing (NLP) techniques was used, including the Valence Aware Dictionary and the sentiment Reasoner (VADER) model for sentiment analysis and Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) for topic modelling. This research investigates the prevalent frames and emotions in the chancellor’s communication, providing valuable insights into the German government’s stance and strategic communication during this critical geopolitical event. The results of the study revealed that the chancellor used the frames ‘effects of the Ukraine invasion’, ‘climate &amp; environment’, ‘solidarity’ and ‘Russian aggression’ and communicated with positive sentiments. By examining the chancellor’s Twitter communication, this study contributes to the understanding of political communication in the digital era, particularly in the context of international crises, and offers implications for policymakers, scholars and the broader public.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue about voting, we are going on vacation! Examining the effect of school holidays on turnout<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Media and politicians widely debate the relationship between holidays and political participation, but research in the field is underdeveloped. To test the impact of holidays on election turnout, we use a natural experimental setting in general elections in Slovakia with respect to the presence of holidays near election day. More specifically, while a part of the country had no holidays, other regions either experienced holidays for the first time or had the holiday in a repeated manner. The results from difference--in-differences and OLS regressions employed in the analysis show that experiencing a holiday near election day decreases electoral turnout. However, this negative effect of holidays on turnout is found to be significant only in territories that experienced holidays for the first time, while it is absent in territories that had holidays near elections repeatedly. This finding points to a potential habituation of the electorate and the holidays’ influence in the long run. The paper thus contributes to our understanding of how different time aspects of holidays affect electoral turnout.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Framing of the “Desolate” in Czech Nationwide Media<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The aim of the present study is to analyze the framing of the group of citizens referred to as “desolates” in the Czech nationwide media. Using the method of discourse analysis on a sample of media texts from the period October 2022 – March 2023, we identified two types of framing present in media discourse: (i) frame of desolates as disobedient citizens, (ii) frame of desolates as concerned citizens. Meanwhile, the basic nodal point of this discourse is the enforcement of the social norm of the “correct” and “suitable” citizen, on which both identified frames are based. The two frames interact simultaneously with each other – the former functions to define “desolates” as a socially and politically undesirable phenomenon, while the latter reactively defends “desolates” as “concerned ordinary citizens”.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue, Media Messaging, and Media Literacy<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article deals with the rise of populism in connection with the functioning of the media and the role of media literacy in the receptivity of citizens to populist messages. The assumption is that the media play a dual role in this context: on the one hand, they make people susceptible to populist messages, and on the other hand, they can train them to become resistant to them. The quality of media communication affects the level of media literacy, i.e. the ability of people to understand and reflect on messages that are being disseminated by mass media, both traditional and online ones. The author claims that media literacy is the main protection against negative media phenomena such as disinformation and fake news. At the same time, it makes citizens resilient to those political messages that contain these elements on which populist politics is often based.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue and Opportunities of Leading Different Generations – the Case of Slovenia<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Leadership, as the most important function of management, involves dealing with people and interpersonal aspects through motivating, achieving better productivity, people’s satisfaction, a favourable working climate and a balance of effectiveness and efficiency, with the aim of achieving the organization’s goals in a changing environment. Now that in modern management the focus is on soft variables and people, their needs and desires, the question arises what are the challenges and opportunities of leading different generations in a business environment that differ from each other in their values, attitudes and behaviours? The authors will analyse the above through three components of leadership, motivation, leadership styles and communication. There are currently four generations in the working population: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y and Generation Z. If the consideration is extended to top management at the national level and to political leadership, it is expected that the challenges and opportunities of leading different generations are even more complex, because the working population is joined by the Traditionalist generation, which is retired, but also by the Alpha generation, whose entry into the working population expected in a few years. Additionally, political leadership encompasses a nation’s entire populace as well as all of its social issues in an indirect manner. In addition to generational differences, leadership is also faced with the challenge of a changing environment, which is quite unstable nowadays and thus poses an even greater challenge to leadership.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Social Representations: Insights into the Formation, Functioning and Visualisation of Collective Knowledge<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper explores social representation theory and its relevance for the understanding of how individuals construct and collectively share knowledge about the social world. It seeks to answer questions related to why and how certain social phenomena unite people and others divide them. Besides, the paper touches upon the research methodology and the way in which social representations can be presented visually.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue empowerment can change media education<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>A crucial role in the primary socialisation is played by parents who are upbringing and educating children about various aspects of life. They also significantly influence child’s knowledge and experience of the digital media through examples, conversations and experiences. However, the process of media education has become a challenging task for parents to achieve. As current fastpaced processes of digitization are constantly changing, adults themselves are often faced with figuring out and adopting new ways of digital media related behaviours and attitudes. In past decade expert recommendations and guidelines on screen exposure and media education of children have been widely disseminated aiming to support parents in their choices in conducting media education of their children. In this article we confirm that parent’s familiarity with the expert recommendations regarding the use of media for children results in a significantly lower screen exposure of their preschool children and in higher frequency of implementing beneficial media education practices.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Literacy, active citizenship and sustainable democracy: a case study of Slovenia<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article shares research findings to support the case for media literacy education to facilitate robust media engagement by Slovenian citizens. It shares the outcomes of a project MELIA Observatory funded by the Interreg Danube, which brought together researchers, practitioners, professionals, civil society, and key stakeholders, including journalists, teachers, students, librarians and information professionals. The article aims to evaluate state-of-the-art of media literacy and engaged social responsibility within sustainable democracy in Slovenia. We first present public institutions involved in Slovenian where we include media regulation with a focus on media literacy and its implications for active citizenship and sustainable democracy. Secondly, laws governing all aspects of media are presented, again emphasizing the connection between media literacy and active citizenship which is most evident here. From the findings, media education requires a “reboot” to promote critical resilience through a sophisticated academic deconstructionism of media mixed with theorised production of the same media before it can be successful. Slovenia as a representative partner of the MELIA Observatory is a new democracy, and its democratic consolidation processes have been problematic, as seen by issues of political aspects, hate speech, discrimination, misinformation, and weak media freedom regimes.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue against Disinformation in the Czech Republic: Treading the Water<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In the last decade, the Czech Republic’s foreign and security policy were destabilised with the activities of external actors, with Russia in the leading role, and also internal actors who followed the Russian and pro-Kremlin propaganda and disinformation campaigns and/or actively participated in such subversive activities. After 2015, within the set of crises and their securitisation, the disinformation network in Czechia was developed using the social media and the so-called alternative online media for the dissemination of disinformation, misinformation, fake news and chain mails including and disseminating these campaigns. As far as the leading persons in the executive belonged to the disinformers, the government did not develop working strategies against the disinformation campaigns as the new hybrid threat until 2021. At the end of 2021, the new government of Prime Minister Petr Fiala commenced in the Czech Republic with a new strategy regarding the hybrid threats, including disinformation. The one-year plan to establish the systemic platform for the struggle against such threats was challenged with the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The surprisingly strong response to disinformation campaigns after February 24, 2022, suggested a more systematic approach by the government against fake news and incitement to hatred. A year and a half on, however, we are seeing a stalling in place.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue impact of closed and flexible candidate lists on the representation of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article addresses the impact of closed and flexible candidate lists on the representativeness of the lower house of the Czech Parliament from 1996 to 2021. Specifically, the paper explores representativeness according to gender, profession, residence, education, age and political experience. The effectiveness of preferential votes has manifested only since the electoral reform in 2010, mainly in the representativeness of women. Other monitored variables had a more pronounced influence, mainly in 2010 and 2013, when various citizen initiatives called for a change in the existing political set, and the new political parties disrupted the party system. Or when the voters of the PirStan coalition preferred the candidates of the STAN at the expense of the candidates of the Pirates in 2021.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue European Integration with Illiberalism: ‘Laboratory’ of Central-Eastern Europe<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The essay discusses Central Eastern Europe as a ‘laboratory’ of existing, emerging as well as contained elements of illiberal backlash. The Central European countries show both challenges and resilience mechanisms in more ‘extreme’ conditions than the cases from Western Europe. The paper offers the connection between the domestic development of Central European states and the ‘polycrisis’ of European integration by linking the issue of politicisation of European integration with the emergence of illiberal politics in contemporary Europe. The goal and main argument of the paper are that there exists a nexus between illiberal Central Eastern European politicians and rising Euroscepticism in the region. The empirical research of Central Eastern European cases will help us better understand general trends of European integration politicisation.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue’s war against Ukraine and the transformation of the Euro-Atlantic Security Architecture<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article attempts to contribute to the debate on the reasons for the inability of the US and its allies to prevent Russia from destroying the Euro ‑Atlantic security architecture by a full ‑scale invasion of Ukraine, as well as to the discussion of scenarios to strengthen the Euro-Atlantic community in the frame of preparation for the new post-war political landscape and reality. Based on a critical analysis of existing research, it is argued that despite the diversity of views of scholars and the still unpredictable outcome of the war in Ukraine, today it is possible to formulate some theses on the main directions of the European order transformation. These include enhancing the unity of the collective West, awakening Europe in the security and defense dimensions, strengthening and expanding NATO, increasing the US presence in the European region and ‘the end of the history’ of Russia’s return to the League of Superpowers. At the same time, the following issues remain controversial: the relations between Russian aggression and the US ‑NATO strategy after the Cold War, the prospects of the United States maintaining the leading role in ensuring European security given the war ‑induced increase in Europe’s defence capabilities, and Ukraine’s future European and Euro ‑Atlantic integration.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue’s Pragmatic Diplomacy in the Age of Détente: The Case of the African Opening between 1956 and 1970<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Following the change of the political systems that swept across the former Soviet Bloc region toward the end of the 1980s, it was obvious for the ex ‑satellite states that they would direct the major (re)orientation in their foreign policies towards the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Since the 2010s, every country of the ex ‑Communist Bloc, including the Russian Federation itself, has fostered pragmatic foreign policies with African regions and states. To be able to understand present ‑day Hungary’s recently enhanced engagements with the African continent, as well as making sense of its governmental ‘Africa Strategy’ of April 2019, this paper proposes to offer a general and historical analysis of changing geopolitical landscapes and foreign policies – towards Africa in the Age of Détente, between 1956 and 1970.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue torn by ill fate? Wounded collective identity in light of a survey in Hungary<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The primary aim of the paper is to explore the relationship between the trauma ‑focused self ‑description of Hungarian history and other factors such as sense of regional betweenness, memory, well ‑being or even the respondent’s personality (sympathy for authoritarian personality traits, political orientation, religiosity). In the current study, network analysis is used to explore the elective affinities between the above ‑mentioned variables. This method – rather than focusing on linear relationships – concentrates on interactions and feedback loops to better understand this social phenomenon. Our results show that the outlined factors form a coherent and highly stable belief system that can only be changed by significant influences.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue to make the EU affairs more attractive? Case study teaching at Czech universities<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article examines the case study (CS) method of teaching the studies focusing on the European Union (i.e. EU studies) through the lenses of the current debates on the EU’s future which stress the growing cleavage and diversity inside and outside the EU. It is then difficult to present these topics to university students via traditional means, or via existing CS on international relations or EU affairs which are often of Western origin, and thus not always easily transferred to other environments. Its aim is to explore how the CS may be enriched by bringing local narratives. The article investigates the Czech Republic, a relatively newer member of the Union, where the EU studies has suffered from declining interest from students over the last few years. Particularly by employing questionnaires and semi ‑structured interviews with Czech university teachers, we examine the type of CS, the extent to which they are and may be applied as a learning method and what their benefits are towards students, teachers and EU studies as a discipline. Our findings suggest that CS are used by the majority of respondents, but confusion prevails over the way CS should be employed. Moreover, the broader context of the CS learning method is rather neglected. Hence, there is space for greater systematic preparation and possibly for CS templates and samples that can be shared by instructors.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue