European Parliament Elections and Political Representation: Policy Congruence between Voters and Parties.

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Abstract

It is often said that European Parliament elections fail as an instrument to express the will of the European people. However, while the elections are not contested at the European level and are often dominated by national issues, this does not necessarily imply that they fail to connect policy views of voters and representatives. This article examines policy congruence between voters and candidates, utilising the candidate and voter surveys of the European Election Study 2009. First, it demonstrates that policy preferences of candidates and voters are constrained by three separate policy dimensions. Second, it shows that the quality of representation is high in terms of left/right, the main dimension of conflict in European politics, but lower on the cultural and European integration dimensions. Finally, it establishes that in some cases the aggregation of national parties in political groups in the European Parliament poses problems for effective political representation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1226-1248
JournalWest European politics
Volume35
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • IR-81710
  • METIS-288354

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