The Dynamics between Elections In Multilevel Party Systems

22.10.2012 - 14:00
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Type of Event : 
AB B-Kolloquium
Dr. Arjan Schakel
Lecturer affiliation: 
Maastricht University

In the past, most voters in Europe could only vote in national and local elections but recently the number of elections has increased considerably. Since 1970, 14 out of 27 European countries have introduced regional elections. The number of countries which hold elections for the European Parliament has increased from 9 in 1979 to 27 in 2009. ‘What is at stake’ in these elections has also changed significantly due to substantial authority shifts from the national level to the regional and European level. Opportunities for voters to express their opinion about policies and governments have multiplied. Indeed, voters now use subnational or supranational elections to hold national governments accountable for their performance. However, we know little about how voting calculations in one arena influence those in another. In my research I examine the conditions under which politics in one electoral arena shapes politics in other electoral arenas. So I move away from a state-centric focus on national elections to a multilevel perspective. I adopt a longitudinal, multilevel and cross-sectional perspective and focus on regional, national and European elections for the 27 member states of the European Union during the time period between 1945 and 2010. I seek to investigate 1) the causes underlying divergent voting behavior across space, time and tiers, and 2) the conditions under which governments are held accountable across electoral arenas. I thus explore the causes and consequences of multilevel political systems where elections, authority and accountability are shared across several government tiers. Consequently, the insights into the European multilevel governance system carry important substantive and empirical implications for current debates among scholars, politicians, journalists and practitioners about democracy within the European Union and within the European Union Member States.