State Parties’ Electoral Strategies after Devolution

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

State Parties’ Electoral Strategies after Devolution

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Chapter 7 discusses the adaptation of state parties’ electoral strategies to the new institutional setting of devolution. The chapter shows that state parties’ pro-periphery moves were more credible in a decentralized state where state parties competed in regional elections. As a result, state parties’ pro-periphery strategies became more effective and more widely used. This did not always result in lower electoral returns for peripheral parties. Moreover, new peripheral parties emerged and grew dramatically in short periods of time in Belgium and Italy. These parties were all characterized by radical pro-periphery agendas of a kind impossible for state parties to match. Only in Belgium could ex-state parties, those that had become regional parties, attempt to match these radical agendas. The persistence of the peripheral party threat, combined with the institutional incentives that state parties found to compete along territorial issues, produced new rounds of devolution reforms.

Keywords: state parties; decentralized state; multi-level politics; regional elections; regional assemblies and governments; permanent devolution; Belgium; Italy; Spain; United Kingdom

Chapter.  16683 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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