Elections, party politics and government across Europe

Do populist-leaning citizens support direct democracy?

Populist parties across Europe often support direct democracy, for example through frequent referendums. Do their voters support these initiatives too and why? Tina Freyburg, Robert Huber and Steffen Mohrenberg distinguish between citizens who support direct democracy as a way of giving power to ‘the people’ and those, known as stealth democrats, who do so out of scepticism that politicians can be effective. They find that […]

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Is populism about more than discontent?

The success of populist parties is often viewed as an act of protest against ‘the establishment’. Drawing on new research, Bram Geurkink, Andrej Zaslove, Roderick Sluiter and Kristof Jacobs illustrate that this may not always be the case. Voters for populist parties are not just protest voters: when they have the opportunity, they vote for an alternative.

Populist parties are ever […]

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    When parliaments’ second chambers are reformed and the implications for democracy

When parliaments’ second chambers are reformed and the implications for democracy

In recent years there have been several attempts by Western European governments to reform second chambers, though the majority of proposals have failed to pass. Michelangelo Vercesi assesses the conditions when such reforms are proposed, and finds that they are often instigated during times of democratic strain when the governing party wishes to reduce the number of veto players. However, the […]

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Book Review: The Politics of Land edited by Tim Bartley

In The Politics of Land, editor Tim Bartley brings together contributors to highlight the significance of the neglected issue of land to political sociology. This is a highly informative volume that explores a range of issues related to the land-politics nexus beyond the top-down understanding of its role in capitalist accumulation with much potential for future sociological research, writes Alexander Dobeson. 
The Politics of […]

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    Is democracy going digital? Why the Twitter debate on Catalonia’s independence matters

Is democracy going digital? Why the Twitter debate on Catalonia’s independence matters

Looking at the case of the Catalonia independence debate, Joan Balcells and Albert Padró-Solanet find that the popular perception of social media as creating polarised echo-chambers of extreme political opinions is far from the full picture. They find evidence that Twitter can foster engaged, substantive conversations across partisan lines. This picture demonstrates how social media has the capacity to genuinely improve democratic discussions, […]

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The symbolism of the new Greek government

New Democracy, led by Kyriakos Mitsotakis, won the Greek legislative elections on 7 July. Zoe Lefkofridi and Sevasti Chatzopoulou write that although it is still too early to judge the new Greek government, there are already some clear indications of the trajectory it is likely to take in the coming years.

On 7 July, Greeks went to the polls for […]

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Five transport policies that could build thriving cities

One of the key roles of transport planners in large cities is to ensure that high levels of mobility are maintained while traffic congestion is kept to a minimum. Sarah Colenbrander and Catarina Heeckt write that accessibility within cities hasn’t become better despite urban planners’ best efforts. Creative solutions are needed to create better interconnected and concentrated cities.

Over the […]

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    Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer’s uphill battle as Germany’s new defence minister

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer’s uphill battle as Germany’s new defence minister

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who remains the favourite to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor, became the new German Defence Minister on 17 July. Marcus Walsh-Führing examines what her appointment means for the CDU and Merkel’s political legacy.

Ever since Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (AKK) took over as chair of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the party has had to deal with […]

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Grand corruption and the authoritarian turn

If incoming governments in liberal democracies wish to use public contracts to benefit those loyal to them, they face institutional constraints. To implement corrupt procurement strategies they would need to sabotage these checks and balances. By comparing procurement data from Hungary and the UK, Liz Dávid-Barrett and Mihály Fazekas identify the relative effect of such anti-democratic institutional changes, as seen in Hungary, on government patronage.

Is […]

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    The waking giant goes back to sleep: European integration in the Greek elections

The waking giant goes back to sleep: European integration in the Greek elections

The prospect of Greece leaving the eurozone once dominated the country’s political agenda. Yet as Susannah Verney writes, in the 2019 Greek elections, relations with the EU were simply not an issue. She argues this quick change in the political climate demonstrates that unlike in the UK, Greek citizens were not motivated by a desire to reject the principle […]

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What German citizens want from democracy

Although democracy is viewed positively across Europe, surprisingly little is known about the type of democratic processes citizens support. Drawing on new research in Germany, Saskia Goldberg, Dominik Wyss and André Bächtiger illustrate that disenchanted citizens want stronger involvement in political decision-making, irrespective of the concrete participation format.

What do people want from democracy and democratic decision-making? Are they happy […]

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Greece: The Politics of the 3.5%

After winning a majority in the Greek elections on 7 July, Kyriakos Mitsotakis and New Democracy must now turn their attention to managing the country’s economic recovery. Yet as Paris Aslanidis explains, the scope for plotting a new economic course is heavily restricted by the terms of the 2015 bailout agreement, ensuring that government turnover is highly unlikely to […]

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Can Poland’s opposition win this year’s election?

Poland will hold parliamentary elections later this year. Aleks Szczerbiak writes that the country’s liberal-centrist opposition retains considerable assets, and the overall balance of support between it and the right-wing governing camp remains evenly balanced. But the opposition has wasted too much time looking inward rather than crafting a convincing programmatic alternative, and it still does not know in […]

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Greek elections: The view from across Europe

Greece held legislative elections on 7 July. The preliminary results indicated New Democracy had won a majority of seats, with Syriza in second place. Stuart Brown presents an overview of analysis and reactions from across Europe.

“As if the four years of Syriza had not existed, traditional politics has imposed itself again on Athens”

El País describes the result as the “end of […]

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    Book Review: The Populist Radical Left in Europe edited by Giorgios Katsambekis and Alexandros Kioupkiolis

Book Review: The Populist Radical Left in Europe edited by Giorgios Katsambekis and Alexandros Kioupkiolis

In The Populist Radical Left in Europe, editors Giorgios Katsambekis and Alexandros Kioupkiolis bring together contributors to explore populist radical left movements across Europe, discussing examples including Greece’s Syriza, Spain’s Podemos, Slovenia’s Left Party, France’s La France Insoumise and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, among others. This is an engaging and engaged work of political science, writes Anton Jäger, that provides a necessary moment of reflection on […]

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    Lessons from Ciudadanos: How liberal parties struggle to deal with the radical-right

Lessons from Ciudadanos: How liberal parties struggle to deal with the radical-right

Ciudadanos received the third highest vote share in the Spanish general election in April, however several key figures recently resigned from the party, citing leader Albert Rivera’s decision to pivot toward the right of the political spectrum and engage with the radical-right party Vox. Ben Margulies writes that the affair highlights some of the difficulties new liberal parties like […]

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    Could it happen there again? The authoritarian roots of cultural threat, welfare chauvinism and party choice in Germany

Could it happen there again? The authoritarian roots of cultural threat, welfare chauvinism and party choice in Germany

Is there a link between authoritarian personality traits and support for the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) in Germany? Drawing on recent survey evidence, Markus M. L. Crepaz demonstrates that those classified as ‘authoritarian’ are 30% more likely to vote for the party than non-authoritarians even when controlling for other factors. However, these findings do not suggest that authoritarianism is […]

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    Book Review: Politics Rules: Power, Globalization and Development by Adam Sneyd

Book Review: Politics Rules: Power, Globalization and Development by Adam Sneyd

In Politics Rules: Power, Globalization and Development, Adam Sneyd confronts the neglect of politics in government and mainstream development circles, stressing the importance of careful, ‘disinterested’ political analysis. While suggesting that there may be no easy way out of the trap of ideology, Gavin Fridell welcomes the book as a thought-provoking and engaging guide that plots conceptual and practical ways to go beyond narrow […]

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    Outlook for Italy: Fiscal policy and instability in the government remain key sources of risk

Outlook for Italy: Fiscal policy and instability in the government remain key sources of risk

Lega finished a sizeable distance ahead of their coalition partners, the Five Star Movement, in the recent European elections. Dennis Shen writes that although Lega’s leader, Matteo Salvini, has stated he has no intention of pushing for snap elections in the short-term, the prospect of instability in the current coalition, as well as a deteriorating fiscal picture, will be […]

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Greek election preview: The end of the road for Syriza?

Greece will hold a snap election on 7 July. Zoe Alipranti writes that it is widely expected New Democracy will finish in first place ahead of Syriza, as occurred at the recent European elections. She explains that although greater political stability might be entrenched in the short-term, the next government will be tasked with trying to revive the Greek […]

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