This article analyses the contextual determinants of parliamentary elites’ methods of selection. Using survey data from a representative sample of 500 Spanish MPs, we empirically demonstrate that different district characteristics generate different ways of MPs’ selection. Specifically, parties implement more exclusive ways of candidate selection in more competitive districts and in regional chambers. On the contrary, selection processes are more participative at the national level¬ and where electoral competition is low.
The 2015 General Election (GE) marked the end of the two-party system that had existed in Spain since the restoration of democracy. Two new parties, ‘Podemos’ and ‘Ciudadanos’ entered the national arena for the first time and together obtained 34.6 percent of the vote. This paper describes this election's context and electoral results by analysing the individual determinants behind the change to the Spanish party system.Our results indicate that economic factors predominantly explain the votes for the traditional parties, the PP and PSOE.On the other hand, political factors help distinguish why some voters remained ‘loyal’ to the traditional parties and others switched to the new formations. WhilePodemos’ switchers were mainly politically disaffected left-wing voters, electoral support for Ciudadanos came from younger and ideologically moderate voters who had lower levels of political trust.
The intra-party mechanisms for MPs selection has been only partially analyzed by the literature. Most works focus on parties’ written rules regarding the selection of candidates for the national chamber(s). However, party statutes hide these mainly informal procedures. In this paper we analyze how candidate selection is implemented in parties using survey data for a representative sample of 580 MPs, completed with 58 in-depth interviews of MPs and gatekeepers. With this data we analyze how the selection of candidates is implemented in a multi-level democracy such as Spain.
We examine the impact of the current economic crisis on the accuracy of responsibility attribution between levels of government within States. Using individual-level data from Spain, we show that learning about responsibility attribution depends on the saliency of the issue (in our study, unemployment) and economic self-interest. The (unintended) positive consequence of economic crisis is that citizens are now more able to accurately attribute the responsibility for political decisions than some years ago. Learning is particularly significant among those individuals more affected by the economic crisis.
The article deals with a timely yet only partially researched topic: the selection of candidates for electoral lists in multilevel democracies. From an international comparative point of view, we explain how, in different countries, MPs are selected using empirical evidence based on surveys and interviews. Countries sampled lead to a comparison of American and European multilevel democracies. The article contributes to a better knowledge of candidate selection while enlightening differences and similarities among countries.
The study of the impact of the economic crisis on attitudes toward democracy tends to be focused on satisfaction with specific democratic institutions. In this article we expand upon previous research to explore how the current economic crisis can affect core support for democracy as a regime. Based on European Social Survey data for the Eurozone countries, our findings are twofold. Firstly, we show that perceptions of the state of the economy have an impact both on satisfaction and support for democracy. Secondly, we show that citizens’ support for democracy is higher in bailed-out countries (...)
The 2014 European Parliament (EP) election in Spain took place in a context of deep economic recession and distrust of political institutions. These conditions triggered an unprecedented electoral response through which Podemos, a radical leftist party created shortly before the election, obtained eight per cent of votes and gained electoral momentum thereafter, seriously threatening the two-party-plus system. Using data from a panel survey, our analyses reveal some unexpected findings. The intensity of protest voting and the timing of the contest within the national electoral cycle have had a major impact on national politics – with the possibility of eventually producing a party-system change.
Previous literature has argued that MPs selected by party elites in a central and exclusive way are more disciplined than those belonging to parties with more inclusive and participative mechanisms of candidate selection. This hypothesis has been usually tested measuring the existence of voting blocs in parliamentary groups (taking for granted that voting blocs are the result of party discipline) and party rules on candidate selection (ignoring how selection process takes place). By using data from a survey of a representative sample of Spanish members of parliaments, we study the impact of candidate selection on how cohesion in parliamentary groups is built. Results show that where nomination for the electoral list rests on party elites, decisions are imposed through discipline. By contrast, parliamentary group cohesion is achieved through deliberative processes of decision-making in more decentralised and inclusive groups.
Spanish religious indicators have experienced one of the most drastic declines in Europe. The low levels of church attendance and religious denomination contributed to reject the perception of religiosity as a relevant explanatory factor of electoral behavior. However, leaders continued introducing debates related to secular education, divorce and abortion not only during the eighties, but also more recently from 2004 to 2011. The facts encourage us to reconsider the strength of the religious vote. Is the political elite able to mobilize religious voting through the inclusion of such issues in the electoral debate? In this paper I demonstrate that religiosity has been and still is a key element to understand Spanish electoral behavior, especially in those elections in which the political elite has focused the debate on issues related to moral issues.
Social sciences have often claimed the end of religiosity as an explanatory factor of electoral behaviour in Europe. Nevertheless, left and right parties still insert religious and moral issues in the agenda in order to distance themselves from their opponents. This paper shows a comparative study of 34 European democracies examining the extent to which religious voting has diminished since the eighties. Results point to a sharp decline in the levels of religious vote until the nineties, with a revitalization since then in some of the countries of the sample. The analysis also highlights the important role played by the political elite on the activation of religious vote