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Exploring Congruence in Greece (2009-2019)

Elections
Elites
Political Competition
Representation
Candidate
Party Members
Survey Research
Evangelia Kartsounidou
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Ioannis Andreadis
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Evangelia Kartsounidou
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Congruence
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Abstract

Congruence between voters’ and candidates’ policy position is a key element of political representation. This paper intends to study congruence between candidate MPs and their party voters in Greece during the last decade (2009-2019). After a rather stable period (after the democratic transition in 1974), the Greek party system in the last decade has experienced many alterations and transformations. Old traditional parties have lost their electoral power while new and, in some cases, more extreme parties have appeared in the Greek party system, especially after 2012. These changes could have affected the linkage between political elites and the electorate and as a result the level of congruence in Greece could be at stake. Examining this political phenomenon on different dimensions of political competitiveness (economic Left/Right, GALTAN, pro/anti-European) we answer the following research question: how has congruence been developed in the Greek political context during the last ten years? In addition, focusing on party-level and party system characteristics we explore factors that have an impact on congruence: such as the effective number of parties, party polarization, party size, heterogeneity of party’s electorate and the party’s ideological and electoral profile. In the past congruence was typically studied by comparing the attitudes of voters with what opinion polls or panels of experts considered to be the attitudes of politicians or the positions of parties. In 2010, Golder and Stramski introduced a many-to-many approach, and then many recent studies have followed this approach. Relying on the data of Comparative Candidates Survey (CCS), in line with CSES voter study we study congruence between the voters’ and candidates’ policy position. Specifically, we include the Greek studies of 2009, 2012, 2015 and the recent study of 2019. In this paper we use Greece as a case study; however, this work contributes to the comparative research on congruence and to a further development of the CCS project. Constituting an archive with common variables, coding and data of all the CCS studies in line with voter studies is an important element for other potential studies and comparative analysis in the future.