Partisan politics and electoral procedure at the European level : the implications of the Spitzenkandidaten for the development of European parliamentarism
Title: Partisan politics and electoral procedure at the European level : the implications of the Spitzenkandidaten for the development of European parliamentarism
Author: LEHMANN, Wilhelm
Citation: Pierre JOUVENAT and Jean-François RICHARD (eds), Actes du colloque : déficit démocratique de l’Union Européenne : quel rôle pour les partis politiques?, Lyon ; Auvergne : Presse fédéraliste ; UEF, 2018, Carnets d'Europe, pp. 119-143
External link: https://www.uef.fr/IMG/pdf/pierre_jouvenat_deficit_democratique_et_role_des_partis_politiques.pdf
From a constitutional perspective, two objectives were at the origin of the idea to have the Presidential candidates for the European Commission selected by European party leaders. The principal idea was to provide European political parties with an important task and thus to convince citizens that they have a choice on the next European political agenda and that there is more to the EU than summits of heads of state or government. Derived from this it was hoped that turnout in the 2014 elections would benefit from the increased attention given to the electoral campaign. Decreasing voter participation in European elections has been a recurring theme in European studies and the theory of the EU’s political legitimacy, while electoral studies have provided some limited guidance how to make the European elections a "first-order" event. As overall turnout in 2014 barely budged compared to the 2009 elections, the goal to stimulate citizens' interest was attained only in some Member States. The paper will defend the proposition that one crucial factor to change this is a more influential role of European political parties, requiring a solid institutionalisation, notably through the new party statute agreed at the end of the 7th parliamentary term. In this context, some national case law impinging on European electoral procedure is discussed as an important constraint for giving Euro-parties stronger roots in national politics. On the basis of an assessment of the innovations introduced for the 2014 elections, such as the competitive appointment of candidates for the Commission presidency, the paper will also scrutinise the viability of further efforts to mobilise the European electorate in times of constitutional fatigue, diversity of national traditions and Eurosceptic political entrepreneurs.
Type of Access: openAccess
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