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Yet Another Grand Coalition

The Social Democrats at the Crossroads

Andreas M. Wüst

For the Social Democrats ( spd ), the result of the Bundestag election of 24 September 2017 was a disaster. With a vote share of just 20.5 percent, the party had to face its worst result in a national election since 1949. The outgoing Grand

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Elections

Explaining the Timing of the French Socialist Party's Gender-Based Quota

Katherine A.R. Opello

One characteristic of French political life is the small number of women holding national elective office. From 1944, when women received the vote, until the 2002 legislative elections, the percentage of female members in France’s lower house, the National Assembly, ranged from a low of 1.5 percent in 1958 to a high of 12.9 percent in 2002. Data reveal that the lowest percentage of women in the Senate, France’s upper house, was 1.4 percent in 1975 while the highest percentage was 16.9 percent in 2004. This absence of women from the highest reaches of politics is particularly striking when France is compared to other member states of the European Union. For example, currently women possess approximately 45 percent of legislative seats in Sweden, 32 percent in Germany, 28 percent in Spain and 18 percent in the United Kingdom. 1 In fact, France is often referred to as la lanterne rouge de l’Europe (Europe’s caboose) because the only other country with so few female parliamentarians is Greece.

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Stephen F. Szabo

The main consequence of the 2017 Bundestag election has been its impact on the stability and reliability of Germany as a foreign policy actor. The emergence of a seven-party system is likely to be a factor for at least the next four to eight years

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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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Edoardo Bressanelli

The European elections of May 2014 proved to be a key trial run for several actors within the Italian party system. Academic literature on these elections has often viewed European Parliament elections as “second-order” elections, that is, as expressions of opinion on the incumbent national government. This chapter analyzes whether this model still applies. It shows that the European Parliament elections were an unusual form of second-order election, in that they allowed voters to reward the Renzi government, which was still enjoying a honeymoon period.

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Vincenzo Emanuele and Nicola Maggini

The importance of the 2016 municipal elections in Italy was a consequence not only of the number and relevance of the cities involved, including Rome, Milan, Naples, and Turin, but also of their timing, occurring in the middle of the 2013–2018 electoral cycle. These elections were thus perceived as a mid-term test for the national government, acquiring a relevance that went beyond their specific local context. This chapter analyzes the electoral supply, voter turnout, electoral results, and vote shifts, focusing on a synchronic and diachronic comparison of the performance of the candidates and the parties. The evidence presented shows that despite winning the plurality of municipalities, the Democratic Party clearly paid the cost of ruling at the national level. The number of its mayors was halved, and it was defeated in Rome and Turin by the Five Star Movement, the true winner of these elections.

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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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Pierre Martin

La préparation institutionnelle de l’élection L’élection de 2002—la septième élection présidentielle française au suffrage universel sous la Ve République—a donné lieu à une préparation institutionnelle sans précédent depuis la première, celle de 1965, qui s’est concrétisée par la réforme du quinquennat et l’inversion du calendrier électoral. La réduction du mandat du président de la République de sept à cinq ans (le quinquennat) était un projet de longue date dans la vie politique française, que le Président Georges Pompidou avait déjà tenté de mettre en oeuvre en 1973. Cette réforme a été impulsée par le Premier ministre Lionel Jospin, suite à une proposition de loi déposée à l’Assemblée nationale par l’ancien Président Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. Le Président Jacques Chirac, qui s’était d’abord déclaré hostile, s’est ensuite rallié à cette proposition en la faisant soumettre à référendum le 24 septembre 2000.

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Robert Rohrschneider and Michael R. Wolf

During the summer of campaign year 2002, the election already

seemed lost for the SPD/Green government. Public opinion polls

saw the governing coalition trailing by several percentage points,

whereas the CDU/CSU, together with the FDP, looked like the sure

winner. A central reason for the malaise of the red-green government

was the ailing economy. Unemployment rates hovered at the 4

million mark and would have been even higher if governmentfunded

jobs had been added to the official unemployment rates.

Consequently, a substantial majority of citizens considered the creation

of jobs Germany’s most important problem.1 This constituted

an especially severe burden for Chancellor Schröder. In 1998 he had

promised to push unemployment rates below 3.5 million or, he

stated, he did not deserve re-election. Thus, many observers and

voters expected the September 2002 election to be a referendum on

the governments’ handling of the economy. Since the chancellor had

not delivered, voters were about to vote the incumbent government

out of office.

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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.