Contemporary Southeastern Europe
Civil Society Going Political: The Crisis of Democracy and the Rise of Participatory Political Parties in Croatia
This paper debates the crisis of democracy and the importance of civil society in bringing forth new, participatory models of democracy. This is demonstrated in the case of Croatia following the results of the local elections in the spring of 2013 when five newly founded political parties, which shared strong ties to civil society, saw success. Building on the existing literature on the crisis of democracy, the authors argue that the low level of trust in political parties is not sufficient for explaining this phenomenon. Seeking to provide a more comprehensive solution, the authors introduce the factor of motivation by analysing the failures of CSOs in establishing a dialogue with the government, as well as the structural features of CSOs, thereby establishing a link between the macro and micro level of analysis. The paper indicates similarities with other post-socialist countries, allowing for speculation about possible similarities between them.