Public opinion attitudes towards the authoritarian past in Central and Eastern Europe and the Iberian Peninsula
Mini-Workshop em Comportamento Político e Opinião Pública
The Iberian Peninsula and several Central and Eastern European countries have experienced various forms of non-democratic regimes during the twentieth century and, from the 1970s onwards, have taken the path towards democracy. In spite of the nature of the authoritarian regimes implemented in these two regions, we expect that the modalities of transition to democracy and the existence of strong successor and previous regime opposition parties may have caused different levels of politicization of the way people look at the political past of their country. This paper relies on survey data collected in Portugal and Spain, as well as in a group of Central and Eastern Europe post-communist countries (the Visegrad Group), collected ten years after the transitions to democracy in these counties in order to test context-dependent variance in the relevance of ideology and party identification on the attitudes towards the past. The results show that the role of these two factors varies considerably between countries, and, as expected, this does not follow a clear post-communist vs. post-authoritarian divide. However, modes of transition strictu sensu are not also the main factor here; it seems that it is the existence of a strong successor party that leads to a stronger politicization of the past.