The True European Voter: A Strategy For Analysing the Prospects of European Electoral Democracy That Includes the West, the South and the East of the Continent (TEV)
For large-scale democracies, general elections are the ultimate link between societal interests and demands on the one hand, and governmental action on the other. In contemporary Europe, this link – the 'electoral connection' – is experiencing a number of threats. One is the European unification process itself due to its inherent diminution of political accountability. Another threat is a far reaching ideological depolarization of electoral choice options. A third results from the changes of European political parties over the last decades. Finally, effective political representation in post-communist societies is threatened by the legacies of communism. Due to diversities in the institutional make-up, socio-political development and recent history, these threats manifest themselves differently in different parts of Europe. Building on the achievements of the European Voter project, this Action intends to advance the knowledge of the imperfections of electoral democracy in Europe, and to come up with sound conclusions and policy recommendations. This shall be done by establishing a network of scholars and by building the necessary database for a comprehensive co-operative analysis of these threats. To promote the quality and robustness of the output of the action, a strong emphasis will be put on providing training opportunities for young scholars.
In 2012 activities concentrated again on all three aims of the study: data harmonization and integration, education and training of participating young scholars, and two major book projects. A second version of an integrated test data file based on 50 national election studies’ data was prepared and circulated; a Winterschool on methodological issues of comparative electoral research was organized in Rome with some 30 young scholars participating; two authors’ conferences were convened ahead of the Management Committee Meeting in Vilnius in October. An extension of the Action for one year – now running until May 2014 – was applied for and granted.