Conferences & Workshops

Spring Semester 2024, Fribourg

Political Opposition in the Post-communist Space


The workshop will be organized in the framwork of the SNSF project "Political Opposition in post-communist Democracies and Authoritarianism" and take place at the University of Fribourg in cooperation with the Department of European and Slavic Studies and the Department of Social Work, Social Policy, and Global Development.


Call for papers and more information coming soon!

Past Events

22 - 24 November 2023, Graz

Competing for Power in Southeast Europe: Strategies and Approaches

International Workshop

Organized by the Southeast Europe Association (Munich) and the Centre for Southeast European Studies (University of Graz)


Dominant parties monopolising power is a feature widely shared across Southeast Europe. In many countries, governments are or have been shielding opposition parties off public and private resources and acted as gatekeepers of relations with the external world. Oftentimes dominant parties cultivate patronage-based linkages with their constituencies and coalition partners, fuelling dependency cycles which are difficult to escape. In response, opposition actors have opted for a variety of strategies to compete on a fundamentally skewed playing field – with varying degrees of success.

The aim of this workshop is to comparatively assess opposition strategies in Southeast Europe and to scrutinise the factors that either have contributed to the opposition’s success or failure. Bringing together both academic and activist expertise, the workshop will attempt to derive some general lessons learned from the opposition strategies in Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Moldova, Hungary, Turkey, and Kosovo.


15 - 19 July 2023, Buenos Aires

27th World Congress of Political Science 

Paper Proposal:

Solska, Magdalena: "Just Ineffective or Intentionally Constrained? How the Weakness of Opposition Parties Contributes to Democratic Backsliding"

Why have opposition parties failed to act as effective safeguards against democratic backsliding in Poland and Hungary? Backsliding appears as a gradual process that leads to a decline in democratic quality. With time, it can also reduce the power of domestic actors to hold a government accountable. Revisiting the assumptions about the adverse side effects of executive aggrandizement as the main drivers of ongoing democratic backsliding, I posit that the current explanations fail to account for the quality of domestic responses to illiberal tendencies. Even though scholars have started to investigate democratic resilience and strategies of “resistance” to illiberal trends. Most studies, however, have tended to focus on top-down intervention by the European Union.
The examination of domestic opposition appears relevant as its unimpeded functioning sustains liberal democracy on the one hand and the deliberate constraints imposed on it by the ruling parties fuel the autocratization process on the other. The paper explores therefore the sources of apparent weakness of opposition parties in Poland and Hungary, and highlights their strategies and tools. It claims that opposition parties’ (partially) self-inflicted weakness is conducive to explaining the enduring public support for the incumbents despite their overt violations of democratic standards. The paper builds on empirical material including interviews and documents collected in Poland and Hungary. It leverages a comparative approach to show that in spite of significant differences in political and institutional “opportunity structure” under PiS-led and Fidesz-led government, the opposition in both countries has been ineffective in presenting a programmatic and personnel alternative to challenge the incumbents.

Panel: "People against Pluralism? Sources of Public Support for Illiberal Regimes." 

Full Program

 More information

27th World Congress of Political Science