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What (else) can we Learn from Regional Elections? Mapping (new) Explanatory Factors for Incongruent Voting Behavior and Sub-State Strategies in Multi-Level Systems of Governance

Elections
Federalism
Regionalism
P466
Coree Brown Swan
University of Edinburgh
Jared Sonnicksen
Technische Universität Darmstadt

Thursday 09:00 - 10:40 (08/09/2016)

Building: Faculty of Arts Floor: 2 Room: FA225V

Abstract

The dispersion of political authority in a multi-level system of governance is commonly depicted as an “intrinsic” quality of the polity which has allowed ethno-regionalist political parties to bypass national state authority in a privileged access to political power. Very seemingly, the transfer of political authority to additional tiers of governance has offered new possibilities for regional parties to overblow statewide parties at regional and European elections. Yet, the emergence of new territorial strategies as well as long-terms analysis on (in)congruent voting behavior demonstrate that the diffusion of political authority no longer suffices to account for voting incongruence and to explain the emergence of new sub-state strategies. In fact, if on the one hand, in Scotland and in Flanders, the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA) have learned to rely on new external factors - such as the context of economic crisis and functional interdependence – to accommodate new territorial strategies at the regional and European levels of governance. On the other hand, in Europe, long-term analysis on electoral turnout as well as the outcome of last regional elections in France and in Portugal (autonomous regions of Madeira and Azores) clearly show that voting behavior between different tiers of governments is far from being congruent. In conclusion, we could argue that “extrinsic” qualities of the polity should be added to the equation in order to fully understand “how” ethno-regionalist political parties have managed to reconfigure sub-state strategies for national bypassing and “why” regional elections are consistently remaining of the second-order. By the means of an articulated combination of qualitative and quantitative papers and diversified case studies, the purpose of this panel is to identify (new) explanatory factors for incongruent voting behavior and for the emergence of new sub-state strategies in distinctive multilevel systems of governance.

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