This book considers the emergence of centre right parties in Eastern Europe following the fall of communism, focusing primarily on the case of the Czech Republic.
Although the country with the strongest social democratic traditions in Eastern Europe, the Czech Republic also produced the region’s strongest and most durable party of the free market right in Václav Klaus’ Civic Democratic Party (ODS). Seán Hanley considers the different varieties of right-wing politics that emerged in post-communist Europe, exploring in particular detail the origins of the Czech neo-liberal right, tracing its genesis to the reactions of dissidents and technocrats to the collapse of 1960s reform communism. He argues that, rather than being shaped by distant historical legacies, the emergence of centre-right parties can best be understood by examining the responses of counter-elites, outside or marginal to the former communist party-state establishment, to the collapse of communism and the imperatives of market reform and decommunization. This volume goes on to consider the emergence of right-wing forces in the disintegrating Civic Forum movement in 1990, the foundation of the ODS, the right’s period in office under Klaus in 1992-97, and its subsequent divisions and decline. It concludes by analyzing the ideology of the Czech Right, and its growing euroscepticism.