Chapter

Electoral Representation in Loosely Electoral Representation in Loosely Bounded Territories: Mass Politics in the EU?

Stefano Bartolini

in Restructuring Europe

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780199286430
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603242 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199286434.003.0006
Electoral Representation in Loosely Electoral Representation in Loosely Bounded Territories: Mass Politics in the EU?

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This chapter investigates the electoral representation of the integration issues, assuming that the shift in the location of institutional power related to European integration may be accompanied by a corresponding change in the direction of the efforts of mass politics. It documents the extent to which European issues differentiate the attitudes of voters and parties alike. It argues that the attitudes of national and European parties, of political elites, and public opinion towards the constitutive issues of integration are hard to interpret, referring to historical cleavages or to a left-right dimension. It interprets the Europarties development as a top-down attempt by political elites to institutionalize an isomorphic party system at the EU level that tends to select those nation-like issues on which a structuring easier. It discusses the strong collusive push of both national and European parties towards constitutive EU issues in which their divisions appear insurmountable and would undermine their effective existence. The current situation witnesses an imbalance between the lack of party system structuring at the EU level and the growing potential for party system destructuring at the national level. If EU-related latent oppositions were to be politicized, the resulting alignments will not closely correspond with the political divisions on which domestic politics has traditionally been founded.

Keywords: European issues; parties; Europarties; party system; representation; voters; alignments

Chapter.  23893 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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