The contrast between Slovakia’s primary Communist successor party—the Party of the Democratic Left—and its own successor—Smer—offers considerable insight into the interaction between party ideology, organization and electoral success in post-Communist Europe. The Party of the Democratic Left and Smer offered relatively similar programmatic positions, but Smer managed to replace—and far outpace—its predecessor by offering a more charismatic public face, a smaller and more tightly centralized organization and an ideological flexibility that permitted it to take advantage of a shifting electoral environment.

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