Working Paper #25

Do Parties Benefit from Electoral Manipulation?
Electoral Laws and Heresthetics in Poland, 1989-1993


Abstract: Electoral heresthetics, or the manipulation of electoral systems to a political player’s advantage, had profound political consequences for post-communist transitional Poland. Choices of difierent electoral systems contributed first to the fall of communism and later to the reclaiming of power by the post-communists. Despite high stakes and top priority attached by political players to electoral heresthetics, their efforts were hardly rewarded. The parties supported the ex-post more beneficial electoral system about as frequently as they supported a less beneficial system. The significant political consequences of new electoral laws often came as a complete surprise to the interested parties and often worked against the interests of the manipulators.