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Explanatory notes on the database.

Parties and Elections in Europe provides a comprehensive database about legislative elections and governments in Europe since 1945. Political parties are classified according to their orientation. The website also contains an electoral calendar 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.
EPP : European People's Party
PES : Party of European Socialists
ALDE : Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
AECR : Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists
EGP : European Green Party
EL : Party of the European Left
ADDE : Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe
MENF : Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedom
EFA : European Free Alliance
EDP : European Democratic Party
ECPM : European Christian Political Movement
EUD : Europeans United for Democracy
APF : Alliance for Peace and Freedom
AENM : Alliance of European National Movements
(within some parties there are three kinds of member organisations: full, associate, observer)
III. CLASSIFICATIONS (from left to right in the political spectrum)
 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.

- 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 present socio-economic order through more public ownership, workers' control of the labour process and redistributive tax policies.

- 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 autonomy.

- 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 minority.

 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: 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 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 usually rely on a combination of forms of nationalism with an anti-elitist rhetoric and a radical critique of political institutions. They 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.

 Others: 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, Pro-EU, Religious beliefs (Christian left, Christian right, Evangelicalism, Islamism), Statism, Unionism.
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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© Wolfram Nordsieck, Merkurstraße 1, 40223 Düsseldorf. E-Mail: info[at]parties-and-elections.eu.