It is time for a closer look: The demise of regional party branches

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Traditionally, decentralization has been linked with the stability of the party system because it helps parties to succeed in national elections. Yet, previous research has frequently obviated the intertwined nature of multilevel party competition. This research takes a closer look at parties’ subnational electoral trajectories while arguing that decentralization increases the risk of new party demise by making subnational elections more attractive for all kinds of parties to compete in. The argument is tested applying survival analysis to the electoral trajectories of 1235 regional branches of political parties in 12 European countries. Results show that contrary to what has been stated previously on the literature, decentralization increases the risk of parties to disappear. This effect fades away the older and more consolidated the party becomes, and it is of particular relevance for regionalist parties. These findings have important implications for the literature on second-order elections and multilevel party competition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-132
Number of pages13
JournalParty Politics
Issue number2
Early online date10 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

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