Reflection: What are the main factors of party choice/voting behavior in the Visegrad countries The main factor that influences the voting behaviorof Visegrad populace depends on the differences of the institutional design of their political parties and system. These variably result to different voting behavior and pattern among the citizens belonging to Visegrad countries. For example, Hungarians tend to be most personalized not only in absolute sense but even more clearly relative to the importance of party cues to vote choice. Thus, Hungary tends to be leader oriented and this could be attributed to other European countries such as semi-presidential France, Ireland and Portugal where voters orient themselves more to the leaders than the parties. Voters then cast their votes not on the base of political parties but rather on the performance of their leaders that could be categorized as clientelistic and leader centered political culture compared to a majoritarian or consensus-oriented political system.
It can be contrasted to Czech Republic where it manifests an extreme party-centric behavior of its voters. This can be attributed to their highly organized political parties as it manifests strongest ideological voting than the Nordic countries or the Netherlands. Unlike in Hungary where voters casts their ballots based on the performance of their leaders, Czech Republic on the other hand vote base on party ideology regardless of its leaders. This can also be partially attributed to the retention of orthodox communist party in the electoral arena making the electorate ideologically conscious.
Poland on the other hand is neither of the two and this can be attributed to its highly fragmented political parties and institutional design whereby its institutions are closest to the consensus democracy type. The combination of diaspora among its political centers and consensus base political system among its political parties made it the only European country that is similar to that of the hybrid type constituted by Mexico and United States compared to Scandinavian-Israeli-Czech end-point differentiation. This results to a voting pattern that shows variance from the other countries in Visegrad such as Czech Republic and Hungary (Slovakia is not extensively covered in the study). Slovakia may not have been extensively covered in the study but its political system shares the same attribute with Poland which is also highly fragmented where its numbers are “excessive”. Thus, one can surmise that Slovakia will tend to be more consensus type in its voting pattern inferring to the factor that institutional design influences voting behavior.
The most interesting finding of the study is the lack of clear trends in the voting behavior among Visegrad countries. Their voting behavior are rather mixed as there are countries that vote based on the dominance of a leader (Hungary) and Slovakia while there is also a country that vote based on partisanship and ideology such as Czech Republic. This two represents the two extreme factors of making political choices as one vote base on personality while the other vote base on ideology. There is also an in-between country or a hybrid of the ideologically oriented and leadership oriented country which is Poland which is more consensus-oriented.