ABSTRACT

During the 1980s and before, scholars studying political parties used to acknowledge that much more work exists in the party politics literature on the left than on the right. After the 1980s this claim was no longer made. It was evident by then that communist parties had entered a path of electoral demise or stagnation and ideological confusion, whereas the radical right was becoming an increasingly relevant electoral actor in European politics. Between that time and the turn of the millennium, very few books and articles were published on contemporary European communist parties1 and, more widely, on the European radical left, among which communist parties can be situated. Most dealt with either these parties’ reactions to the dissolution of the Soviet bloc, like the seminal volumes by Bull and Heywood (1994) and Bell (1993a), or their trajectories of transformation in Central and Eastern Europe (for example, Bozóki and Ishiyama 2002; Grzymala-Busse 2002; Ishiyama 1999).