ECPR General Conference
University of Glasgow, Glasgow
3 - 6 September 2014

Seismic Wave or Tsunami? Assesing Party System Change in Times of Crisis

Fernando Casal Bértoa
University of Nottingham
Fernando Casal Bértoa
University of Nottingham

A specter is haunting Europe: the specter of party system change! After last elections in most European democracies the structure of partisan competition seems to have changed in one country after the other. Italy and The Netherlands have seen the emergence of “great coalitions”, new parties have managed to get access to office in Norway or Luxembourg, innovative coalitions have been formed in Greece or the United Kingdom, traditional parties have electorally collapsed in Ireland or the Czech Republic, and the prospects of instability in traditionally institutionalized party systems (e.g. Spain or Portugal) are obvious.
This paper constitutes an attempt to assess party system development in the continent since 2008, trying to examine to what extent the abovementioned transformations should be considered part of a global process of party system change caused by the global financial and economic crisis that have battered the European costs for the last five years
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"Wherever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship" - Harry S. Truman

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