In order to fulfill the project’s objectives, a comparative case study design based on qualitative methods will be used. This enables to understand the causal mechanisms by which different factors have affected the strategic choices of opposition actors across time and within different political systems.

The post-communist countries were selected to ensure variation regarding the political system, i.e. the degree and nature of limitations of pluralism introduced or maintained by incumbents. This rationale aims to yield theoretical insights that are relevant and transferrable to other contexts.

The project is anchored in an understanding of democracy as a system defined by the rule of law (political liberalism) and political competition. Authoritarianism, in turn, is regarded as political system sui generis, defined by “limited pluralism” (Linz 2000), i.e., constraints imposed on political, societal and media pluralism. In line with this understanding, the combination of three main analytical dimensions (institutional setting, strategies and civil society) enables a more comprehensive insight into the nature of political opposition in the region.