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.
|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
- 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).
- Trotskyist parties favour
a non-pluralist orthodox tendency established by Leon Trotsky
(leader- ship of a vanguard party, dictatorship of the proletariat, 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 (more)
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 alter-globalisation
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. 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 and regional
- 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 speech, press and religion.
- Conservative liberal parties combine liberal policies 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 and political rights. 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.
- National conservative parties combine conservative policies with national stances.
They oppose a further European integration and favour the preservation of the
nation-state with its cultural identity. This parties generally advocate law-and-order and strict immigration
policies. Normally they also emphasise traditional
- Social conservative parties focus on the preservation of 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.
- 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 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
- 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.
issues): Agrarianism, Alter-/Anti-globalisation, Animal
welfare, Anti-capitalism, Anti-clericalism, Anti-corruption politics,
Euroscepticism, Feminism, Gaullism, Kemalism, Localism, Loyalism,
Libertarianism, Pirate politics (direct democracy, copyright reform, freedom of information),
Pensioners' interests, Pro-, Religious beliefs (Christian left/right, Evangelicalism, Islamism), Statism,
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