Comparative European Politics

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 179–201 | Cite as

Confrontation still? Examining parties’ policy positions in Greece

  • Kostas GemenisEmail author
  • Elias Dinas
Original Article


Recent research has shown that, in several countries, the Comparative Manifestos Project (CMP) estimates of party positions do not seem to perform well in terms of face validity and reliability. A fairly typical example of such a deviant case is that of Greece, where for the most part the findings based on this approach seem to suggest that parties’ positions are characterized by extreme discontinuity and leapfrogging. Employing a different coding methodology whose departure point is that party competition is still a matter of direct confrontation between parties, this analysis attempts to measure the positions of Greek parties on three issue dimensions: level of state intervention in the economy, support towards the political integration of the European Union and common European cultural identity. According to its findings, the traditional left–right distinction is still evident in parties’ economic stances whereas the other two issue dimensions indicate that there is an emerging new politics dimension which distinguishes between the centripetal political forces on the one hand and the extreme right and left parties on the other. Importantly, this relatively new coding procedure seems to provide estimates that outperform those stemming from the CMP data both in terms of reliability and face validity.


Greece party positioning confrontational coding European Parliament elections summated rating scales 


  1. Adams, J. (2001) A theory of spatial competition with biased voters: Party policies viewed temporally and comparatively. British Journal of Political Science 31: 121–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bartolini, S. and Mair, P. (1990) Identity, Competition, and Electoral Availability: The Stabilisation of European Electorates, 1885–1985. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Benoit, K. and Laver, M. (2007) Benchmarks for text analysis: A response to Budge and Pennings. Electoral Studies 26: 130–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Betz, H.G. and Immerfall, S. (eds.) (1998) The New Politics of the Right: Neo Populist Parties and Movements in Established Democracies. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  5. Binnema, H. (2003) How Europe Hit Parties… or not? Europeanisation of Party Programmes in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit Working Papers. Political Science 03.Google Scholar
  6. Black, D. (1958) The Theory of Committees and Elections. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bomberg, E. (2002) The Europeanization of Green parties: Exploring the EU's impact. West European Politics 25 (3): 29–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. van der Brug, W. and Fennema, M. (2003) “Protest or mainstream?” How the European anti-immigrant parties developed into two separate groups by 1999. European Journal of Political Research 42: 55–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. van der Brug, W., Fennema, M. and Tillie, J. (2000) Anti-immigrant parties in Europe: Ideological or protest vote? European Journal of Political Research 37: 77–102.Google Scholar
  10. Budge, I. (1994) A new spatial theory of party competition: Uncertainty, ideology and policy equilibria viewed comparatively and temporally. British Journal of Political Science 24: 443–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Budge, I. (2000) Expert opinions of party policy positions: Uses and limitations in political research. European Journal of Political Research 37: 103–113.Google Scholar
  12. Budge, I. (2001) Validating party policy placements. British Journal of Political Science 31: 220–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Budge, I. (2002) Mapping policy preferences: 21 years of the Comparative Manifestos Project. European Political Science 1 (3): 60–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Budge, I. and Klingemann, H.-D. (2001) Finally! Comparative Over-time Mapping of Policy Movement. In: I. Budge, H.-D. Klingemann, A. Volkens, J. Bara and E. Tanenbaum (eds.) Mapping Policy Preferences: Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments, 1945–1998. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 19–50.Google Scholar
  15. Clarke, H.D., Sanders, D., Stewart, M.C. and Whiteley, P. (2004) Political Choice in Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cole, A. (2005) Old right or new right? The ideological positioning of parties of the far right. European Journal of Political Research 44: 203–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Crittenden, K.S. and Hill, R.J. (1971) Coding reliability and validity of interview data. American Sociological Review 36: 1073–1080.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Diamandouros, N. (1993) Politics and Culture in Greece, 1974–91: An Interpretation. In: R. Clogg (ed.) Greece 1981–89: The Populist Decade. London: St. Martin's Press, pp. 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dimitras, P.E. (1996) Greece: A Confused Electorate. In: C. van der Eijk and M. Franklin (eds.) Choosing Europe? The European Electorate and National Politics in the Face of Union. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, pp. 157–165.Google Scholar
  20. Dinas, E. and Gemenis, K. (2009) Measuring parties’ ideological positions with manifesto data: A critical evaluation of the competing methods. Party Politics, online publication, doi: 10.1177/1354068809343107.Google Scholar
  21. Downs, A. (1957) An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Harper and Brothers.Google Scholar
  22. Fitzmaurice, G., Laird, N. and Ware, J. (2004) Applied Longitudinal Analysis. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  23. Franzmann, S. and Kaiser, A. (2006) Locating political parties in policy space: A reanalysis of party manifesto data. Party Politics 12: 163–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Harmel, R., Heo, U., Tan, A. and Janda, K. (1995) Performance, leadership, factions and party change: An empirical analysis. West European Politics 18 (1): 1–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hix, S. (1999) Dimensions and alignments in European Union politics: Cognitive constraints and partisan responses. European Journal of Political Research 35: 69–106.Google Scholar
  26. Hooghe, L. and Marks, G. (2009) A postfunctionalist theory of European integration: From permissive consensus to constraining dissensus. British Journal of Political Science 39 (1): 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hooghe, L., Marks, G. and Wilson, C. (2002) Does left/right structure party positions on European integration? Comparative Political Studies 35: 973–976.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hotelling, H. (1929) Stability in competition. Economic Journal 39: 41–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jacoby, W. (1991) Data Theory and Dimensional Analysis, Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences Series, no. 78. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kalyvas, S.N. and Marantzidis, N. (2002) Greek Communism, 1968–2001. East European Politics and Societies 16: 665–690.Google Scholar
  31. Kleinnijenhuis, J. and Pennings, P. (2001) Measurement of Party Positions on the Basis of Party Programmes, Media Coverage and Voter Perceptions. In: M. Laver (ed.) Estimating the Policy Position of Political Actors. London: Routledge, pp. 162–182.Google Scholar
  32. Konstantinidis, I. (2004) Metavoles sto periechomeno ton programmaton ton Hellinikon kommaton, 1974–2000: He axia tes prosarmostikotetas. [Policy changes as pictured in Greek parties’ electoral manifestos: The value of adaptability]. Greek Political Science Review 12 (2): 105–139.Google Scholar
  33. Kriesi, H., Grande, E., Lachat, R., Dolezal, M., Bornschier, S. and Frey, T. (2006) Globalization and the transformation of the national political space: Six European countries compared. European Journal of Political Research 45: 921–956.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. de Lange, S.L. (2007) “A new winning formula?” The programmatic appeal of the radical right. Party Politics 13: 411–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Laver, M. (2001) Position and Salience in the Policies of Political Actors. In: M. Laver (ed.) Estimating the Policy Position of Political Actors. London: Routledge, pp. 66–75.Google Scholar
  36. Laver, M., Benoit, K. and Garry, J. (2003) Estimating the policy positions of political actors using words as data. American Political Science Review 97: 311–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lyrintzis, C. (2005) The changing party system: Stable democracy, contested “modernization”. West European Politics 28 (2): 242–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Mair, P. (2001) Searching for the Positions of Political Actors: A Review of Approaches and Critical Evaluation of Expert Surveys. In: M. Laver (ed.) Estimating the Policy Position of Political Actors. London: Routledge, pp. 10–30.Google Scholar
  39. Marks, G., Hooghe, L., Steenbergen, M.R. and Bakker, R. (2007) Cross-validating data on party positioning on European integration. Electoral Studies 26: 23–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. McDonald, M.D., Mendes, S.M. and Myunghee, K. (2007) Cross-temporal and cross-national comparisons of party left-right positions. Electoral Studies 26: 62–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McIver, J.P. and Carmines, E.G. (1981) Unidimensional Scaling, Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences Series, no. 24. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Moschonas, G. (2001) The path of modernization: PASOK and European integration. Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans 3: 11–24.Google Scholar
  43. Oppenheim, A.N. (1992) Questionnaire Design, Interviewing and Attitude Measurement. London: Pinter.Google Scholar
  44. Pappas, T.S. (2003) The transformation of the Greek party system since 1951. West European Politics 26 (2): 90–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pappas, T.S. and Dinas, E. (2006) From opposition to power: Greek conservatism reinvented. South European Society and Politics 11: 483–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Pelizzo, R. (2003) Party positions or party direction? An analysis of party manifesto data. West European Politics 26 (2): 67–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pellikaan, H., de Lange, S. and van der Meer, T. (2007) Fortuyn's legacy: Party system change in the Netherlands. Comparative European Politics 5: 282–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pellikaan, H., van der Meer, T. and de Lange, S. (2003) The road from a depoliticized to a centrifugal democracy. Acta Politica 38: 23–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Pennings, P. and Keman, H. (2002) Towards a new methodology of estimating party policy positions. Quality and Quantity 36: 55–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Petrocik, J.R. (1996) Issue ownership in Presidential Elections, with a 1980 case study. American Journal of Political Science 40: 825–850.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Reif, K. and Schmitt, H. (1980) Nine second-order national elections: A conceptual framework for the analysis of European election results. European Journal of Political Research 8: 3–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Robertson, D. (1976) A Theory of Party Competition. New York: John Wiley.Google Scholar
  53. Sanders, D. (1996) Economic performance, management competence and the outcome of the next General Election. Political Studies 44: 203–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sartori, G. (1976) Parties and Party Systems: A Framework for Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  55. van Schuur, W.H. (2003) Mokken scale analysis: Between the Guttman scale and parametric item response theory. Political Analysis 11: 139–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. van Spanje, J. (2007) “Pariah parties”: The ostracism of political parties and its consequences for party competition. The Populist Radical Right Workshop; European University Institute, Florence, 7–8 February.Google Scholar
  57. Stavrakakis, Y. (2003) Politics and religion: On the ‘politicization’ of Greek Church discourse. Journal of Modern Greek Studies 21: 153–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Steenbergen, M.R. and Marks, G. (2007) Evaluating expert judgments. European Journal of Political Research 46: 347–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Stokes, D.E. (1963) Spatial models of party competition. American Political Science Review 57: 368–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Stokes, D.E. (1992) Valence Politics. In: D. Kavanagh (ed.) Electoral Politics. Oxford: Clarendon Press, pp. 141–162.Google Scholar
  61. Taggart, P. (1995) New populist parties in Western Europe. West European Politics 18 (1): 34–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Volkens, A. (2002) Manifesto Coding Instructions (Second Revised Edition). Berlin: WZB. Discussion Paper FS III 02–201..Google Scholar
  63. Volkens, A. (2003) Policy Changes of European Social Democrats. In: G. Bonoli and M. Powell (eds.) Social Democratic Party Policies in Contemporary Europe. London: Routledge, pp. 21–42.Google Scholar
  64. Volkens, A. (2007) Strengths and weaknesses of approaches to measuring policy positions of parties. Electoral Studies 26: 108–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wittman, D. (1990) Spatial Strategies When Candidates Have Policy Preferences. In: J. Enelow and M. Hinich (eds.) Advances in the Spatial Theory of Voting. New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 66–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Zafeiropoulos, K. and Marantzidis, N. (2001) Gia to kommatiko systema ste metapolitefse: kritiko semeoma. [For the party system after 1974: A critical note] Greek Political Science Review 9 (2): 129–138.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute for Law, Politics and Justice, Keele UniversityKeeleUK
  2. 2.Department of Political and Social ScienceEuropean University InstituteFlorenceItaly

Personalised recommendations