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Explaining Political Party Support for Supra-Nationalism and Regionalism: A Comparative Study of Party Manifestos

Party Manifestos
Political Parties
Regionalism
Party Systems
Policy Change
Takayoshi Uekami
Kokugakuin University
Takayoshi Uekami
Kokugakuin University
Hiroki Ogawa
Kochi University
Masako Tanaka
University of Tokyo
Asako Takashima
University of Tokyo
Yu AJISHI
University of Tokyo

Abstract

According to Jolly (2015) and others, regionalist parties tend to support EU. As capacity of institutions in Brussels grows, they provide services for citizens, thus reducing the roles of its member states. In this sense, it can be said that regionalism and supra-nationalism go hand in hand in contemporary Europe. At the same time, however, we witness populist parties roaring against Brussels. In theoretical terms, we can think of four combinations depending on pros and cons of regionalism and supra-nationalism; ‘pro-regionalism and pro-EU,’ ‘pro-regionalism and anti-EU,’ ‘anti-regionalism and pro-EU,’ and ‘anti-regionalism and anti-EU.’ What kinds of parties fall in which categories? Does formal institutions and/or party organizations matter? By merging PPDB and MPD, the relationship between regionalism and supra-nationalism in election campaigns is examined. We find that regionalist parties do articulate pro-EU stance only when they mention support for federalism and/or decentralization of power. Besides, parties on the right do not promote both pro-regionalism and pro-EU issue. With all other variables held constant, tighter organizational linkage with local branches leads parties to emphasize pro-regionalism regardless of their stances on EU issue. In a similar vein, parties in a country which allows larger regional authority promote either pro-regionalism or pro-EU issue, but not in a simultaneous fashion.