Elections in Europe
notes on the database.
The database Parties and Elections in Europe provides a comprehensive
about the parliamentary elections in the European countries and
autonomous subdivisions since 1945 and about the political parties and
governments. The parties are classified according to their political
orientation. The database 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.
POLITICAL PARTIES AT EUROPEAN LEVEL (EUROPARTIES)
|III. CLASSIFICATIONS (from left to right in the political
The political parties are characterised according to their political orientation. 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 von 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
- Marxism-Leninism: Marxist-Leninist (Leninist)
parties prefer a non-pluralist orthodox form of communism developed by
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (leadership of a vanguard party,
dictatorship of the proletariat, centralism).
- Trotskyism: Trotskyist parties favour a
non-pluralist form of communism 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 emphasise values as equality, solidarity
and social justice.
- Democratic socialism: 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 (more)
public ownership, workers' control of the labour process and redistributive tax
- Eco-socialism: Eco-socialist parties 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 values as
environmentalism, feminism, nonviolence, civil and human rights, animal
welfare and social justice.
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. Since the 1990s, most of them incorporated economically liberal topics as limited social
welfare, privatisations, deregulations and lower company taxes (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,
self-determination and regional
- Separatism: Separatist parties usually advocate a
full political secession of a particular region with its ethnical,
linguistical or cultural identity and the formation
of a new state.
- Minority interests: Parties of minorities intend to
secure or to increase the rights of an ethnical or linguistical
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 speech, press and religion.
- Conservative liberalism: Conservative liberal parties combine liberal policies with more traditional stances
on social and ethical issues and some national views (in some
countries this form of
right-wing liberalism is traditionally known as national liberalism).
- Social liberalism: Social liberal parties stress civil rights
and 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 usually middle-class organisations that seek to preserve established
traditions and the current status quo of a society. 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 conservatism: Liberal conservative parties combine conservative policies with more
liberal stances on social and ethical issues.
- Social conservatism: Social conservative parties focus on the preservation of traditional
social, ethical and religious values. They usually advocate a social market economy.
- National conservatism: National conservative parties combine conservative policies with national stances.
They oppose a further European integration and prefer the preservation of the
nation-state with its cultural identity. Normally they favour social
stability and traditional
social, ethical and religious values.
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
nationalist parties advocate a form of nationalism based upon social
equality, popular sovereignty and national self-determination).
- Right-wing populism: 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
forms of nationalism with an anti-elitist rhetoric and a radical critique of
political institutions. They usually prefer strict law-and-order and
anti-immigration polices and tend to anti-Islamism.
- Far-right politics: 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. This 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.
Agrarianism, Animal welfare,
Anti-clericalism, Anti-corruption politics, Anti-globalisation,
Civil rights, Copyright reform, Direct democracy, Environmentalism,
Euroscepticism, Feminism, Freedom of information, Gaullism,
Kemalism, Loyalism, Libertarianism, Monarchism, Pensioners' interests,
Religious beliefs (Christian left, Christian right, Evangelicalism,
Islamism), Statism, Unionism.
IV. VOTING SYSTEMS
AMS: Additional member system (one vote for a party
and a second vote for a candidate); FPTP: First-past-the-post (plurality voting in single-member
constituencies); MMP: Mixed-member proportional
representation (one vote for a party and a second for a candidate; with
overhang/adjustment seats); Parallel voting (two separate voting systems); Block voting (a system for electing several
candidates in one constituency); PR: Party-list proportional
representation; STV: Single transferable vote (ranked voting in multi-seat
districts); TRS: Two-round system.
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