Multi-level party systems in Spain
Title: Multi-level party systems in Spain
Author: WILSON, Alex
Citation: Regional & federal studies, 2012, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp. 123-139
ISSN: 1743-9434; 1359-7566
This article compares party systems in Spain from a multi-level perspective, evaluating structures of party competition and processes of party system change at central and regional levels, with a view to understanding their broader impact on territorial dynamics in Spanish politics. Since the 1990s, the central party system has become characterized by intense bipolarization between state-wide parties and wholesale alternation in government. Although a similar process of bipolarization has occurred in most (but not all) regional party systems, the effects in terms of coalition formation and government alternation are very different. Spanish regions are characterized by innovative coalitions between state-wide and non-state-wide parties, with patterns of government alternation that diverge from the central level. A majority of regions are characterized by predominant party systems with no alternation in government, while others see partial alternation where small regionalist parties form promiscuous coalitions with state-wide parties to stay perpetually in office. Meanwhile, the large bilingual regions (Catalonia, Basque Country, Galicia) have all shifted from predominant party systems to more competitive ones characterized by wholesale alternation, but with underlying structures of competition and party coalitions that differ significantly from the central level.
Published online: 20 Apr 2012
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