Presidents and parties in regional politics : Italy and Spain compared
Title: Presidents and parties in regional politics : Italy and Spain compared
Author: WILSON, Alex
Series/Number: Institut de Ciències Polítiques i Socials (ICPS) Working Paper; 2012/308
External link: http://www.icps.cat/archivos/Workingpapers/wp308.pdf?noga=1
Comparative research on multi-level politics has highlighted many of the core dynamics of regional party competition, electoral behaviour, coalition formation, and party organisation (Hough et al, 2003; Hough and Jeffery, 2006; Swenden and Maddens, 2009; Hopkin and Van Houten, 2009; Stefuriuc, 2009). Meanwhile, scholars of regionalist parties have compared their organisation, strategies, and objectives (Tursan and De Winter, 1998; De Winter et al, 2006; Hepburn, 2010), while others have focused on the varying response of statewide parties to these regional challengers (Roller and Van Houten, 2003; Swenden and Maddens, 2009; Hopkin and Van Houten, 2009). Yet political scientists have rarely sought to link changes in the balance of territorial power with broader shifts in the role and structure of parties in contemporary democracies. These include the growing reliance of parties on the resources and legitimacy of the state (Katz and Mair, 1995); a continued process of partisan de-alignment (Dalton and Wattenberg, 2002); a sustained fall in party membership (Mair and Van Biezen, 2001); the declining capacity of parties to aggregate social demands (Schmitter, 2001); and greater internal party democracy (Hopkin, 2001). More recently, scholars have noted the growing power of executive leaders in advanced democracies that are becoming de facto “presidentialised”. This is occurring in entrenched parliamentary systems, including countries characterised by coalitional politics, and often in the absence of formal institutional changes (Poguntke and Webb, 2005). The study of presidentialisation has so far been limited to the national level, yet remarkable processes of state decentralisation in Europe (Marks et al, 2008) have given greater resources and visibility to sub-national leaders (Swenden and Maddens, 2009). Studies of local politics have noted the rising trend in direct election of mayors (Magre and Bertana, 2007), and the impact of these institutional changes on the relationship between executive leaders and supporting parties (Fabbrini, 2001), but this analysis has never been extended to the regional level. Although some authors have noted the emergence of party “barons” in the Spanish regions (Van Biezen and Hopkin, 2006), or powerful directly elected presidents in Italian regions (Fabbrini and Brunazzo, 2003), no study so far has explored the relationship between presidents and parties at regional levels of government.
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