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.
The project entered its fourth year (extension year) in May 2013. Data harmonization and restructuring is well underway. A semi-final data set integrating the results of some 150 election studies conducted in Europe in the second half of the 20th century is expected to be ready for analysis by the end of January 2014. 2014 will see the administrative end of the COST Action, but the finalization of publications will extend well into 2015.