European Elections and National Politics: Lessons from the “New” Southern European Democracies”
Considering the “new” Southern European democracies (Greece, Portugal and Spain), this article has three main objectives. First, the article tests the short‐term and the long‐term impacts of national factors on voting behaviour in European Parliament (EP) elections. Second, the article evaluates the specificity of voting behaviour in EP elections, vis‐à‐vis voting behaviour in first‐order contests, namely, in terms of the extent to which the opportunities for defection in EP elections are in fact used by voters. Last but not least, the article analyses the impact of voting behaviour in EP elections on the anchors of partisanship in new democracies. Due to their second‐order nature, EP elections provide opportunities for defection without major consequences for the (national) political system. However, in new democracies, especially in the first decades of the new regimes, defection can be disturbing for the consolidation of ties between electors and political parties and, consequently, for the stabilization of the party system. By studying the “new” Southern European democracies in their first three decades of democracy (1970s–2004), we may learn lessons about the impact of EP elections upon the stabilization of the anchors of partisanship in new democracies more generally.
Αριστοτέλειο Πανεπιστήμιο Θεσσαλονίκης, Σχολή Οικονομικών και Πολιτικών Επιστημών, Τμήμα Πολιτικών Επιστημών
Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, vol.17 no.1  p.101-122
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