Explanatory notes about the database.
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.
Officially recognised parties at European level (Europarties
operate transnationally and in the EU):
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
||: European People's Party
||: Mov. for a Europe of
Liberties and Dem.
||: Party of European Socialists
||: European Alliance
||: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats
||: Alliance of European National Movements
||: European Green Party
||: European Christian Political Movement
||: Alliance of European Conserv. and
||: Europeans United for Democracy
||: Party of the European Left
||: Alliance for Direct Democracy
||: European Democratic Party
||: Mov. for a Europe of Nations
||: European Free Alliance
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.
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; 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).
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.
advocate an anti-authoritarian form of socialism.
· Eco-socialist parties usually combine socialist, green and anti-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
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
· Separatist parties advocate a full political secession of a particular region and the formation of a new
· Minority parties intend to secure or to increase the rights of an ethnical or linguistical minority
Centrism: Centrist parties are usually
moderate traditionalist parties which take a centrist position on the socio-economic left-right
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 with more traditional stances on social and ethical issues.
· Social liberal parties stress civil and political rights. They
usually 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
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
· 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
· National conservative parties combine conservative policies with
national stances. This socially traditional parties concentrate on national
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
Nationalism: The right-wing nationalist parties believe that
the nation with its collective ethnical, linguistical and cultural
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 values.
· 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
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-capitalism, Anti-clericalism,
Anti-corruption politics, Anti-/Alter-globalisation, Direct
democracy, Euroscepticism, Feminism, Gaullism, Kemalism, Loyalism,
Libertarianism, Monarchism, Pirate
politics (copyright reform, freedom of
information, civil rights, direct democracy), Pensioners' interests,
Pro-, Religious beliefs (Christian
left/right, Evangelicalism, Islamism), Statism, Unionism.
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