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Louise K. Davidson-Schmich

In democracies such as the Federal Republic, national elections are theoretically supposed to fill core political functions: allowing citizens to articulate their interests in the run-up to campaigns, giving parties a chance to aggregate these

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David Nachmias, Maoz Rosenthal and Hani Zubida

While national government elections are perceived as first order institutions that result in relatively high turnout rates, local elections are viewed as second-order institutions and are usually characterized by low turnout rates. We claim that this behavior is conditioned by the stakes that voters associate with elections as well as the voters' relative position in the socio-ethnic stratification structure. In this article we show that such conditions may yield an inversion in voters' perspectives. In other words, voters who are alienated from national government institutions and who are effectively mobilized by leaders of their socio-ethnic groups, which have high stakes in second-order institutions, tend to invert their preference with regard to the significance of elections. In such instances, national elections become second-order elections, and local elections become first-order elections. We use ballot-box level data from two national and two local elections in Israel to test this theory.

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Ilvo Diamanti and Marc Lazar

To be able to analyse the results of the 2001 Italian legislative elections,

we should first clarify the issues that these elections presented

to both the actors taking part and the commentators

observing them. Similarly, it is also useful to lay out the hypotheses

as to what was expected from the elections. In this respect,

certain questions were of particular importance in the campaign

preceding the election. We will highlight seven.

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Kan-di(e)-dat?

Unpacking Gender Images across Angela Merkel’s Four Campaigns for the Chancellorship, 2005–2017

Joyce Marie Mushaben

“same or equal” skills. 7 Merkel’s four national election campaigns offer a unique trajectory with regard to the salience of gender in defining “competent leadership” in unified Germany. Gender factors loomed large but were deliberately avoided by both

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Gérard Grunberg

The 2007 presidential elections have been the most important in France since 1981 because they provoked ruptures in the way the state and the French political system function. These ruptures, which this essay explores, include: the structural advantage the Right now has over the Left in national elections; the extension of the president's power and role in the regime; the transformation of the French political parties system into bipartism; and, finally, evolution inside the two major French parties due not only to the personality, ideas and choices of their respective candidates but also to the growing role of the president in the regime and its effects.

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Emanuele Massetti and Giulia Sandri

In 2013, Italian voters were called to the ballot boxes not only to renew Parliament but also to elect about 600 local councils. In several cases, serious political scandals had led to early elections. An analysis of electoral supply, campaigns, and results suggests the emergence of an ambivalent pattern: on the one hand, regional and local elections appear to be “second order” if we look at the level of turnout; on the other hand, they appear to be “first order” if we look at party/coalition preferences. Except in highly regionalized party systems (e.g., in Valle d'Aosta, Alto Adige/Südtirol, and Trentino), mainstream parties/coalitions performed better in regional/local elections than in the national election. The victory of the center-left coalition and the bipolar dynamic of competition appeared to be stronger at the sub-national level than at the national one.

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Gender Gaps in the Center versus the Periphery

Evidence from the Israeli Elections

Nir Atmor and Chen Friedberg

Recent evidence from industrialized countries shows that men and women tend to exhibit different voting preferences, with greater proportions of women favoring left-wing parties. This phenomenon, known as the ‘modern gender gap’, has been observed in recent Israeli elections as well. After discussing the history of the ‘traditional gender gap’, the article examines the gender gap in the 2013 and 2015 Israeli elections from a geographical and socio-economic perspective, using Israel National Election Studies (INES) data. We focus on two main hypotheses concerning these elections: first, that the gender gap in voting varies according to the geographic location of voters; second, that the modern gender gap affects voters residing in affluent localities. Our findings indicate that both hypotheses hold for the 2013 election but not for the 2015 election.

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Philip Daniels

The fifth elections to the European Parliament were held in Italy on

13 June 1999 against a background of domestic political turbulence.

The centre-left government of Massimo D’Alema, which had

taken office in October 1998, was inherently tenuous, based as it

was on a broad, multi-party majority including several MPs who

had been elected with the opposition centre-right coalition in the

1996 national elections. At the same time, the party system was

still highly fluid: new parties and political formations were entering

the electoral arena and party identities and electoral alliances

were characterised by instability. This turbulence in the party system

was manifest in the 1999 European elections in which twentysix

parties and movements presented lists, many contesting

European elections for the first time. In contrast to the majoritarian

mechanisms used in national parliamentary and local elections,

the proportional electoral system used for European elections, with

its relatively low threshold for representation, encourages the proliferation

of party lists and offers few incentives for the parties to

form electoral alliances.

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Jonathan Olsen

In the 2009 federal election, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) achieved the worst electoral result in its history. Immediately afterwards, the party worked to improve its public image and fine-tune its policies and electoral message, hoping that state elections in the ensuring period might provide some momentum going into the next national election. Yet, in 2013, the Social Democrats improved their result only modestly, with Angela Merkel and the Christian Democratic/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) again gaining a decisive victory. This article explores the reasons behind the SPD's failure to radically improve its electoral showing, arguing that this can best be explained by a combination of the impact of the past—namely, the legacy of its economic reforms during the Schröder era and the SPD's disadvantages coming out of the previous Grand Coalition—as well as the weakness of its 2013 chancellor candidate, Peer Steinbrück, and the popularity of Angela Merkel. The article therefore suggests that the immediate future does not look particularly bright for the SPD: any chances of gaining the chancellorship are largely out of its hand, dependent on both stumbles by its rival, the CDU/CSU, as well as the taming of a possible coalition partner, the Left Party.

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Udo Merkel

The 2002 Soccer World Cup in Japan took place during the final

phase of the national election campaign for the German Bundestag

and managed to temporarily unite Chancellor Gerhard Schröder

(SPD) and his conservative challenger, Edmund Stoiber1. Both were

keen to demonstrate repeatedly that they were so interested in the

progress of the German team that they simultaneously interrupted or

left meetings to follow televised matches. Domestically, they support

very different soccer clubs. Stoiber is on the board of directors of the

richest German club, Bayern Munich, whose past successes, wealth

and arrogance, numerous scandals, and boardroom policies of hireand-

fire have divided the German soccer nation: they either hate or

adore the team. Schröder is a keen fan and honorary member of

Borussia Dortmund, which is closely associated with the industrial

working class in the Ruhr area. It is the only team on par with

Munich; despite its wealth, the management policies of the club

appear modest and considerate; the club continuously celebrates its

proletarian traditions and emphasizes its obligations to the local

community. Stoiber’s election manifesto did not even mention sport,

whereas the SPD’s political agenda for sport focused upon a wide

variety of issues ranging from welfare, leisure, physical education,

and health to doping, television coverage, facilities, and hosting

international events.