Chapter

Introduction

Robert Rohrschneider and Stephen Stephen

in The Strain of Representation

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199652785
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744907 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199652785.003.0001

Series: Comparative Politics

Introduction

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The chapter outlines the main aim of the book — to assess and explain the extent to which political parties across Europe succeed in representing diverse voters. Two important features of the European political landscape complicate the task of assessing party representation. First, in the new democracies in post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe representation may not be only differentially achieved compared to the West but may also be attained by different mechanisms. Second, parties in both West and East must now seek to represent voters that are increasingly diverse, specifically between partisan and independent supporters. We refer to the challenges of representation of diverse voters as ‘the strain of representation’. Finally, the chapter presents the evidential basis for the empirical analysis which follows — the expert surveys that were conducted in 24 European countries on party positions that were merged with other available data on voters, party characteristics, and country conditions.

Keywords: Europe; Western Europe; Eastern Europe; political parties; partisanship; representation; dealignment; expert surveys

Chapter.  8090 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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