The PDS : a study of the development and stabilisation of the PDS as an eastern German regional party, 1989-2000
This study examines the place of the PDS within the German political system. By developing and employing a typology of regional parties this work illustrates that the PDS has been politically successful on account of its mobilisation of distinct territorial interests - in much the same way as other regional parties across the democratic world have done. The creation of a territorial divide along the former inner-German border has offered the PDS the opportunity to re-model its image and profile as the protector of eastern German specificity. The West German party system that expanded eastwards in 1990 has not been able to sufficiently channel regionally specific sentiment into the political process: and it is for this reason that a regional party has been able to stabilise itself in the eastern states. The PDS has taken advantage of a number of structural advantages (in terms of its regional heritage, leadership, its party organisation and so forth) in moulding and shaping a policy package that reflects the differing opinions, attitudes, values and beliefs of many eastern Germans. It is as a result of this that the PDS has been able to stabilise its position within the eastern German regional party system and to build a platform that offers it the opportunity of being a longterm actor in the German party system.