Confrontation and Competition: The Electoral Benefits of Regionalist Parties’ Positions in Parliamentary Democracies

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Party Politics


Recent research has shown that niche parties are both increasing in importance in European party systems and behave differently than their more mainstream counterparts. Indeed, there is growing evidence that the dynamic between green parties and social democratic parties is especially nuanced. Regionalist parties differ from other niche parties in that they can be found on the left, right, and center of the ideological spectrum. We find that regionalist parties benefitfrom increasing the ideological distance between themselves and the mainstream party that most often wins at the national level. However, regionalist parties’ relationship with the mainstream party that most often wins in their home region is more nuanced. Regionalist parties must be distinct enough from the mainstream rival in their home region to be an alternative but close enough to serious compete for the same voters

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