European Integration and the Vote in EP Elections in Times of Crisis

Final Conference of the European Election Study 2014, Mannheim, Germany, November 2015

Abstract

Do ideas related to European integration influence vote choice in European Parliament elections in times of crisis? Economic crisis, bailout packages, and austerity measures have been the central agenda in Southern European countries for the last few years, and the strong, subsequent decline of trust in European and national institutions has been alarming. Citizens’ dealignment and realignment proved itself important in various demonstrations around Europe. This situation led citizens to cast votes for new political parties, and decreasing the vote share of older mainstream ones. Political scientists have a vivid interest in this topic, and there is an ever-growing literature available on the effects of economic crisis on elections. Voters, as well as political parties, have received a great deal of academic attention. Southern European countries have faced similar implementations of the crisis and congruent regulations from the European Union. However, there are different implications for their party system change and voting behaviour in these countries. Based on the European Election Studies (EES) data for the last three European Parliament elections of 2004, 2009 and 2014 this paper, however, does not find any major traces of EU issue voting.

The “ever-changing” impact of Europe on voting behaviour. An analysis in Southern Europe

Harvard - CIS Summer Seminar on Sociological and Political Research, Boston, United States, August 2015

Abstract

Economic crisis, bailout packages, and austerity measures have been the central agenda in Southern European countries for the last few years, while a strong decline of trust in European and national institutions was alarming. Citizens’ dealignment proved itself important in various demonstrations around Europe. This situation created new parties and changed the vote share of some others. Political science scholars have a certain interest and there is a growing literature on the topic. The demand side, voters, and the supply side, political parties, deserve additional attention. This paper investigates the contradictions in Southern European countries related to political parties and voting behaviour, even if they have faced similar implementations of the crisis and congruent regulations from the European Union. It is based on the findings of the European Election Studies (EES) 2004, 2009 and 2014; and it compares citizens’ perceptions of political parties and voting behaviour in EP elections. Voting behaviour will be the main dependent variable and it will be explained with left/right ideology, independence/integration attitudes and partisanship. Measuring the impact of “Europe” will be given a special focus.

Same crisis, contradicting results? Voting non-mainstream parties in Southern Europe.

Spanish Political Science Association (AECPA) General Conference, San Sebastian / Spain, July 2015

Abstract

Economic crisis, bailout packages, and austerity measures have been the central agenda in Southern European countries for the last few years, while a strong decline of trust in European and national institutions was alarming. Citizens’ dealignment proved itself important in various demonstrations. This situation also created new parties and changed the vote share of some others. Political science scholars have a certain interest and there is a growing literature on the topic; however, one question, in a comparative perspective, remained unanswered: Why there are strong anti-establishment and Eurosceptic parties in Italy and Greece, and not in Spain and Portugal? What are the main determinants of voting behavior in times of increasing distrust in mainstream politics? And very importantly, what are the future implications of decreasing partisanship on the quality of democracy in these countries?

Today, anti-system and Eurosceptic parties are affecting the future of the European Union since they are also represented in the European Parliament. This paper investigates the contradictions in Southern European countries related to political parties and voting behavior, even if they have faced similar implementations of the crisis and congruent regulations from the European Union. It is based on the findings of the European Election Studies (EES) 2004, 2009 and 2014; compares public opinion, trust and partisanship on one hand, and citizen perceptions of political parties and voting behavior in EP elections on the other. Voting behavior will be the main dependent variable and it will be explained with left/right ideology, independence/integration attitudes and partisanship.

Is the “Sleeping Giant” Awake? Revisiting the Impact of Europe on National Party Systems

Council for European Studies (CES) 22nd International Conference of Europeanists, Paris / France, July 2015

Abstract

Does Europe matter more on the evolution of national parties and party systems today? Is there a certain supranational impact on national dynamics? In 21st century, political arenas have been changing not only because of the economic crisis but also thanks to further politicization of Europe. This paper questions Peter Mair’s thesis on the limited impact of Europe on national party systems in the light of the current economic and political situation. The article positions political parties, including newly established ones, using the Chapel Hill Expert Survey and MARPOR data, while checking the impact of Europe on format and mechanics of party systems. It also provides an up-to-date volatility data set for Western Europe, using it for establishing the relationship between issue polarization of European integration and volatility, with time series cross section (TSCS) modelling. The findings show that Europe matters more in national electoral dynamics today.

The European Parliament elections of May 2014: Second-order or crisis elections?

(Co-authored with Hermann Schmitt)
European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) General Conference, Glasgow / Scotland, September 2014

Abstract

The 2014 European Parliament elections took place in a very fragile environment. Economic crisis, bailout packages, and austerity measures were the central agenda in many countries while a strong decline of trust in European and national institutions in some parts of the Union were alarming. The politicization of Europe has been accelerated with the crisis while the roles of arenas have been changing. “Spitzenkandidat”, European Commission president candidate of political groups, started a new era, which may become really important in the future, in European Parliament elections. This paper comments on the aggregate EP election results and compares them with the latest national parliamentary elections, after 2009. It also provides volatility data for EP elections, aiming to discuss re-alignment in member states. The historical discussion of if EP elections are second-order national elections will be on the table. Political parties will be taken as the unit of analysis and the trends of increasing extreme right, shrinking mainstream parties and the changes party systems going through will be analysed.

Turkey within Europe: A Comparative Analysis of European and Turkish Party Systems

(Co-authored with Ali Çarkoğlu)
Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) 72. Annual Conference, Chicago / United States, April 2014

Abstract

Despite 16 competitive general elections since 1950 Turkey is typically not included in comparative party systems analyses. This is partly due to three military coups that interrupted democracy. However, Turkey is currently negotiating for the EU membership. Growing literature on the Turkish party system shows continuities in party system characteristics and their constituent longer-term social cleavages. We aim in this paper to locate Turkey within the larger picture of European party systems. Using Comparative Manifesto Project (CMP) data together with Chapel Hill Expert Survey (CHES) data we aim to place Turkish political parties within the European party families. We derive basic cleavages that underlie the European party systems and analyse standard party system indicators in 28 EU Member States and Turkey, as a candidate state. We conclude by providing a methodological assessment comparing content coding from CMP and expert judgments from CHES in their ability to account for the peculiarities of Turkey within the larger European context. We show similarities and differences achieved when we use one or the other methodology.

Revisiting and Extending Peter Mair: The Impact of Europe on National Parties and Party Systems in the Times of Economic Crisis

European Union Democracy Observatory (EUDO) Dissemination Conference: Elections in Europe in Times of Crisis,
Florence / Italy, November 2013

Abstract

Does Europe matter more on the evolution of national parties and party systems today? Is there a certain supranational impact on national dynamics? In 21st century, political arenas have been changing not only because of the economic crisis but also thanks to further politicization of Europe. This paper questions Peter Mair’s thesis on the limited impact of Europe on national party systems in the light of the current economic and political situation. The article positions political parties, including newly established ones, using the Chapel Hill Expert Survey and MARPOR data, while checking the impact of Europe on format and mechanics of party systems. It also provides an up-to-date volatility data set for Western Europe, using it for establishing the relationship between issue polarization of European integration and volatility, with time series cross section (TSCS) modelling. The findings show that Europe matters more in national electoral dynamics today.

Los efectos de la crisis económica en la democracia española: legitimidad, insatisfacción y desafección

(Co-authored with Jose Ramon Montero, Alberto Sanz and Rosa Navarete)
Spanish Political Science Association (AECPA) General Conference, Sevilla / Spain, September 2013

Abstract

El enorme impacto que la actual crisis económica está teniendo en los países del Sur de Europa ha reactivado el interés social y académico, por las relaciones entre los aspectos económicos y políticos de las democracias europeas. Aunque muchos análisis tienden a asumir una relación directa entre crisis económica y crisis de la democracia, esta propuesta pone en cuestión que dicha equivalencia deba darse necesariamente, tanto en el plano teórico como empírico. Siguiendo las categorías  propuestas por Montero, Gunther y Torcal (1998) esta investigación parte del  supuesto de independencia relativa de los que consideramos son los tres criterios fundamentales que estructuran la concepción ciudadana de la política. Esto es, la percepción de legitimidad democrática, la insatisfacción con los resultados del gobierno y la desafección política. ¿Han variado estas dimensiones de forma significativa y en el mismo sentido como se afirma? ¿O puede que, en virtud de su autonomía relativa, alguna dimensión haya podido permanecer estable –como la legitimidad democrática-, mientras que otras –como el descontento político–  haya crecido de manera significativa? Mediante técnicas de análisis de series temporales esta propuesta estudia tanto la asociación  mutua de la legitimidad, la insatisfacción y la desafección, como su dependencia de otros factores políticos y económicos externos. Para ello, los modelos incorporarán variables predictoras tales como series de indicadores objetivos de la situación económica en España (PIB, tasa de desempleo), series de indicadores subjetivos de la percepción de la situación económica (indicadores de la situación económica del CIS) y también variables relativas a la posición a lo largo del ciclo electoral. La extensión de la comparación en el tiempo y la complejidad de los modelos estará condicionada por  disponibilidad y continuidad de las series de datos.

From Citizens to Parties, From Parties to Parliaments: Is there a Multilevel Problem?

European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) General Conference, Bordeaux / France, September 2013

Abstract

In the times of crises everything becomes more complicated. Economic problems affect ordinary people, how they process the given information and how they decide. Analyzing what citizens think and believe about the political parties they vote, not only in national elections but also in the so called “secondary-level” European Parliament (EP) ones, becomes even more interesting. This paper aims to focus on the expected voting behaviour of the citizens regarding the offered solutions by political parties in Europe. It is summarizing the relationship between national parties and their political groups in the EP, europarties in the light of forthcoming elections. It aims to reflect pre-election public opinion about the elections and compare them with the previous, 2009, elections in order to find a way to measure the effect of economic crises. This paper aims to be the starting point of a deeper analysis on multilevel political parties and institutions, what they offer to citizens. For this reason, a preliminary work will be done on the voting behaviour of European citizens in previous elections vis-à-vis given euromanifesto data. The paper tries to establish a link between citizens, political parties and Parliaments as directly elected institutions. European Parliament and europarties will be put in the center of the analysis in order to see the effect of Europeanization in electoral behaviour. EP will also receive further attention to see the institutional incentive it has, or not. All in all, as a preliminary work, this paper aims to discover the mentioned relations between citizens, political parties they work and directly elected institutions in multilevel.

The Effect of Nationality and Political Affinity on Voting in European Parliament: British MEPs – Unity in Diversity?

Elections, Public Opinion and Parties (EPOP), Oxford / United Kingdom, September 2012