political cleavage, far-right, covernment coalition


This project focuses on a comparative analysis of governing coalitions between conservative and far-right parties in recent years in Italy (1994) and Poland (2005). The aim is to show how the inclusion of the radical right in government coalitions in these countries reflects recent changes in Western and Eastern European party systems through the reformulation of the old and formation of new party cleavages. The focus in the recent literature on personality clashes of party leaders over the distribution of ministry portfolios does not explain the nature of the disagreement between these leaders about key issues of national politics. I argue that the mechanism of policy formulation between prospective coalitional partners can be traced at the level of party cleavages which pre-exist the negotiation process between party leaders. The political breakthrough of the far-right parties became possible because of the development of new issues related to the process of European integration and based on the longstanding confrontation between the left and right parties since the beginning of the Cold War. The disintegration of the previous party systems as a result of the collapse of the Communist regime in Poland and the First Republic in Italy in the post-Cold War era created a vacuum partly exploited by the previous anti-system far-right parties and the new emerging ones. At the same time, a clear tendency toward the cartelization of the programmatic supply was prominent on both the left and right sides of the political spectrum. I argue that the rise to prominence of center-right coalitions in the two countries led by Silvio Berlusconi and Jaroslav Kachinskiy respectively represents not only a new dimension in the development of the right wing in Europe but also constitutes a model of political realignment where new cleavages are gradually substituting for the old cleavages described in the Lipset-Rokkan model.


If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at

Graduation Date



Kinsey, Barbara


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Sciences


Political Science

Degree Program

Political Science








Release Date

December 2008

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)