The Emergence of a Peripheral Party Threat

Sonia Alonso

in Challenging the State: Devolution and the Battle for Partisan Credibility

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199691579
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741234 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics

The Emergence of a Peripheral Party Threat

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This chapter characterizes the type of electoral threat to state parties that emerged during the 1960s and the 1970s in Belgium, Italy, Spain, and the UK according to each country’s electoral geography and to the degree of proportionality of its electoral system. The chapter presents data concerning the electoral growth of peripheral parties in each country and then proceeds to show which state party was losing most voters to the peripheral challenger. After this, the chapter describes the electoral geography of each country with respect to three indicators: electoral relevance, electoral vulnerability, and concentration of electoral support. Next, it discusses the electoral systems of each country in terms of their respective thresholds of vulnerability for state parties. Finally, the chapter identifies those state parties whose losses to peripheral parties became a liability for their aspirations to achieve parliamentary majorities.

Keywords: electoral geography; electoral growth; electoral relevance; electoral vulnerability; concentration of electoral support; proportionality index; aggregate threshold function

Chapter.  15752 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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