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 project 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 project, a strong emphasis will be put on providing training opportunities for young scholars.
In 2014, for the COST office in Brussels, the project has officially come to an end regarding funding and administrative tasks. However, work is going on regarding three different activities. The first is that data integration is lacking somewhat behind and the project team has been adding harmonized studies to the database in the current year (and the correction of coding errors and the like is also a major issue at the current stage). Second, we are conducting a set of comprehensive multilevel analyses and while doing so, develop a code of conduct for analysing this unique database. Third, the research group has written and discussed semi-finished chapter drafts in the perspective of revising them for submission to a publishing house sometime in 2015.