Dynamics of the spectrum of European political parties (1990-2021)

Dynamics of the spectrum of European political parties (1990-2021)

Makarenko B.I.,

Center for Political Technologies, Moscow, Russia; HSE University, Moscow, Russia, bmakarenko@yandex.ru

elibrary_id: 251052 | ORCID: 0000-0002-0136-8785 | RESEARCHER_ID: L-3134-2015

Petrov I.I.,

HSE University, Moscow, Russia, iip95d@gmail.com

ORCID: 0000-0003-3856-2503 | RESEARCHER_ID: AAE-4305-2021

Article received: 2022.06.29. Accepted: 2022.09.12

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2023.01.03

For citation:

Makarenko B.I., Petrov I.I. Dynamics of the spectrum of European political parties (1990-2021). – Polis. Political Studies. 2023. No. 1. P. 11-28. (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2023.01.03. EDN: AVJAJL


The article analyzes the prerequisites and features of the evolution of political party systems in 25 member countries of the European Union in the past three decades. To complete the analysis, the authors elaborated a unique index of measurement of party’s manifestos, which enabled them to provide a typology of ideological and political doctrines of political parties. This typology is laid out in a two-dimensional space with crosscutting axes: socio-economic (horizontal) and “cultural”, or “non-economic values” (vertical). The main trends of the evolution, according to the authors (as described in the first sub-chapter of the article), are a leftward shift of the complete spectrum of parties, a growing salience of the “non-economic” axis, particularly for rightwing and populist parties, a weakened dominance of the “vital center” of mainstream center-right and center-left parties, the rise of populism, and a significant variation of evolution scenarios of party systems in post-communist countries. The second and third parts discuss the features of evolution of, respectively, center-left and center-right parties, which serve in most European countries as a nuclei of party systems. Center-left parties are suffering losses at elections due to growing competition with diverse opponents, such as the “new left”, “greens” and multiple varieties of populists. Center-right parties are in search of a viable strategy to compete with right-wing populists. The authors conclude that the changes in the party systems in recent decades were caused by objective prerequisites and were very substantial, though party systems retained their basic properties and remained the main institutions to represent public interests in the domain of politics. This also applies to populist parties which became a legitimate component of European party systems.

political parties, party systems, populism, European Union, post communist countries, social democracy, conservatism, liberalism.


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Content No. 1, 2023

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