Maintaining partisan ties: preference divergence and partisan collaboration in Western Europe

Zachary Greene, Matthias Haber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Parties coordinate on a range of activities. They invite leaders from other parties to their national meetings, run joint electoral platforms and even form parliamentary factions and coalition governments. The implications of regular cooperation such as the case of pre-electoral coalitions (PECs) for party positioning are unexplored. Parties form PECs to reduce competition for voters with ideologically close competitors and to signal their ability to cohesively govern. Building on this logic, we argue that parties’ preferences converge in PECs to demonstrate their ability to govern together and diverge when parties observe that this tactic has failed to attract voter support in past elections. We demonstrate support for our approach using data on electoral coalition participation, party positions and parties’ internal speeches. Additional evidence from an extreme case of an enduring electoral coalition in Germany shows that PECs have dramatic effects on parties’ positions.
LanguageEnglish
Number of pages34
JournalParty Politics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 May 2016

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Western Europe
divergence
coalition
party preference
faction
ability
tactics
voter
election
leader
participation
evidence

Keywords

  • party coordination
  • pre-electoral coalitions
  • preferences
  • coalitions
  • sister parties
  • CDU-CSU

Cite this

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Maintaining partisan ties : preference divergence and partisan collaboration in Western Europe. / Greene, Zachary; Haber, Matthias.

In: Party Politics, 23.05.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - Parties coordinate on a range of activities. They invite leaders from other parties to their national meetings, run joint electoral platforms and even form parliamentary factions and coalition governments. The implications of regular cooperation such as the case of pre-electoral coalitions (PECs) for party positioning are unexplored. Parties form PECs to reduce competition for voters with ideologically close competitors and to signal their ability to cohesively govern. Building on this logic, we argue that parties’ preferences converge in PECs to demonstrate their ability to govern together and diverge when parties observe that this tactic has failed to attract voter support in past elections. We demonstrate support for our approach using data on electoral coalition participation, party positions and parties’ internal speeches. Additional evidence from an extreme case of an enduring electoral coalition in Germany shows that PECs have dramatic effects on parties’ positions.

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