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    Parties and Elections in Europe            
 CONTENT
 
 

Explanatory notes about the database.

I. Abstract
 
Parties and Elections in Europe provides a comprehensive database about the parliamentary elections in the European countries and autonomous subdivisions since 1945 and additional informations about the political parties, the political leaders, the composition of governments and the electoral laws. The parties are characterised according to their political orientation. The website also contains an electoral calendar, news in brief and links to parties and election authorities.
The independent and private website was established by Wolfram Nordsieck in 1997. The editor began his comparative study of political parties, party systems, elections and constitutional laws in the late 1980s. Thereafter he studied law and modern history at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany. Today he practices law.
  
II. Abbreviations
 
Officially recognised parties at European level (Europarties operate transnationally and in the institutions of the EU):
   
EPP : European People's Party MELD : Mov. for a Europe of Liberties and Dem.
PES : Party of European Socialists EAF : European Alliance for Freedom
ALDE : Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe AENM : Alliance of European National Movements
EGP : European Green Party ECPM : European Christian Political Movement
AECR : Alliance of European Conserv. and Reformists EUD : Europeans United for Democracy
EL : Party of the European Left ADDE : Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe
EDP : European Democratic Party MENF : Mov. for a Europe of Nations and Freedom
EFA : European Free Alliance
  
Voting systems: PR: Party-list proportional representation; MMP/AMS: Mixed-member proportional representation/ Additional member system (mixed systems; one vote for a party and a second for a candidate in a constituency; MMP with overhang/adjustment seats); STV: Single transferable vote (ranked voting in multi-seat constituencies); FPTP: First-past-the-post (plurality voting in single-member constituencies); TRS: Two-round system.
 
III. Classifications (from left to right in the political spectrum)
  
The political parties are characterised according to their political orientation (the main ideology is generally listed at the beginning, further orientations are additionally listed afterwards). The categories primarily base on the Cleavage Model (Lipset/Rokkan defined four basic cleavages: Owner
-Worker, State-Church, Urban-Rural, Centre-Periphery) and the main types of party families noted by v. Beyme:
 
Communism: Communist parties primarily adhere to Marxism developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the 19th century. Their aim is the free and classless society based on common ownership of the means of production ("From each according to his ability, to each according to his need", Karl Marx). This parties intend to overthrow the present capitalist system through revolutionary action of the working class. They often originated after the Russian Revolution of 1917 from leftist factions of socialist or social democratic parties.
 
Marxist-Leninist (also called Leninist) parties prefer a non-pluralist orthodox tendency developed by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (leadership of a vanguard party, dictatorship of the proletariat, centralism; official doctrine of the former SU).
Trotskyist parties favour a non-pluralist orthodox tendency established by Leon Trotsky (leadership of a vanguard party, dictatorship of the proletariat, proletarian internationalism, permanent revolution).
 
Socialism: Socialist parties oppose the present capitalist system and intend to establish a social and economic system characterised by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy (state-owned enterprises, employee-owned cooperatives, common ownership). They advocate a society characterised by equal access to resources for all individuals. In general, they strongly emphasise values as equality, solidarity and social justice.
 
Democratic socialist parties advocate a strong welfare state with a large public sector. They resist the capitalist globalisation and propose a reorganisation of the socio-economic order through public ownership, workers' control of the labour process and redistributive tax policies. They explicitly advocate an anti-authoritarian form of socialism.
Eco-socialist parties usually combine socialist, green and anti-globalisation policies.
  
Green politics: Most of the green and alternative parties were founded in the late 1970s as part of the new social movements that came up in the mid-1960s (in particular the ecology, peace, women's and anti-nuclear movements). This parties base on post-materialist values as environmentalism, feminism, nonviolence, civil/human rights, animal welfare, grassroots democracy and social justice. They generally favour an economy that aims for sustainable development without degrading the environment.
 
Social democracy: Social democratic parties are centre-left parties rooted in the socialist labour movement of the 19th century. They advocate a democratic welfare state and a mixed economy that contains privately-owned and state-owned enterprises. This parties adhere to values as freedom, equality, solidarity and social justice. Originally they were closely related to democratic socialist parties. Since the 1990s, most of them incorporated economically liberal topics as limited social welfare, privatisations, deregulations, lower company taxes and reduced state interventions into economic affairs (Third Way).
 
Regionalism: Regionalist (autonomist) parties focus on the interests of a particular region within a state. They generally intend to secure or to increase the region's influence. Their aim is a decentralisation of governance and regional autonomy.
This parties usually take different ideological positions.
 
Separatist parties advocate a full political secession of a particular region and the formation of a new state.
Minority parties intend to secure or to increase the rights of an ethnical or linguistical minority (minority interests).
 
Centrism: Centrist parties are usually moderate traditionalist parties which take a centrist position on the socio-economic left-right scale.
 
Liberalism: Liberal parties are middle-class parties based on the tradition of political liberalism, a movement of the 18th century. The doctrine of liberalism considers personal freedom to be the most important goal. In particular it favours free markets, free trade, limited governments, low taxes and private property (economic liberalism) as well as equality for all citizens under the law, civil rights, secularism and freedom of press and religion.
 
Conservative liberal parties combine liberal policies, especially economic liberalism, with more traditional stances on social and ethical issues (in some countries this form of liberalism is traditionally known as national liberalism).
Social liberal parties stress civil liberties and human rights. In most cases, they favour a social market economy.
  
Christian democracy: The Christian social doctrine (basic principle: human dignity) is the main inspiration of Christian democratic parties. This cross-class parties advocate Christian ethical and moderate social conservative stances. They are very supportive of family values and adhere to principles as freedom, solidarity and subsidiarity. This parties oppose any form of secularism. Usually they advocate a social market economy. 
 
Conservatism: Originally inspired by natural law and formed by the upper-class, conservative parties today are middle-class organisations that seek to preserve established traditions and the current the status quo of a society or nation. They normally advocate traditional values as authority, nation, religion, family, stability and continuity. Over the time they incorporated some liberal values, especially on economic issues (free market policies).
 
Liberal conservative parties combine conservative policies with more liberal stances on social and ethical issues (literally the term is also used for a variant of conservatism which simply incorporates free market policies). 
National conservative parties combine conservative policies with national stances. This socially traditional parties concentrate on national interests. They oppose a further European integration and favour the preservation of the nation-state with its cultural identity. Usually they also advocate law-and-order and strict immigration policies.
Social conservative parties focus on the preservation of traditional social, ethical and religious values; they especially support traditional family values. In economic terms, many of them tend to a social market economy.
 
Nationalism: The right-wing nationalist parties believe that the nation with its collective ethnical, linguistical and cultural identity, its natural order and its sovereignty is of primary importance. This involves a strong identification with the nation-state and its symbols. It usually also includes negative views of other nations.
 
Right-wing populist parties are protest parties that appeal to the fears and frustrations of the public. They appeared first in the early 1970s. Their strategy rely on a combination of nationalism with an anti-elitist rhetoric and a radical critique of the political institutions. Normally they prefer strict law-and-order and anti-immigration polices and tend to anti-Islamism. They often also promote themselves as defenders of liberal values.
Right-wing extremist (far-right) parties are ultra-nationalist parties that adhere to a pure form of the nation defined by ethnicity. They believe that a nation state requires a collective identity and a strong leadership. These parties challenge the equality of all humans. They tend to forms of authoritarianism, xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and corporatism. Normally they are hostile to the present democratic systems and their values.
 
Others (single issues): Agrarianism, Animal welfare, Anti-capitalism, Anti-clericalism, Anti-corruption politics, Anti-/Alter-globalisation, Centralism, Environmentalism, Euroscepticism, Feminism, Gaullism, Kemalism, Loyalism, Libertarianism, Monarchism, Participatory democracy, Pirate politics (direct/participatory democracy, copyright reform, freedom of information, civil rights), Pensioners' interests, Pro-EU/XXX, Religious beliefs (Christian left/right, Evangelicalism, Islamism), Statism, Unionism.

   
IV. Terms Of Use / Contact / Logo
 
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© Wolfram Nordsieck, Merkurstraße 1, 40223 Düsseldorf, Germany. Mail: info[at]parties-and-elections.eu.