This article argues for the importance of more focused scholarly attention on the development of mass-elite linkages - and in particular those linkages that transcend the electoral connection - for understanding democratic consolidation, drawing on the post-communist experience of the Czech Republic as a case study. Starting with the government's loss of its majority in the 1996 Czech elections amidst favourable economic conditions, we argue that this electoral result goes beyond the response to policy priorities to point to larger deficits in the development of channels of access and communication in the policy-making process. Such deficits, characteristic of the post-communist experience regionally, are not merely legacies of the stunted civil societies of the communist period, but also reflect a post-communist style of governance that may itself discourage regularized citizen and associational input. As the episodic electoral connection alone cannot bear the weight of democratic consolidation, the risk is a pattern of mass-elite linkages that creates a punctuated politics of elections and street demonstrations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Political Science and International Relations