Comparative European Politics

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 240–263 | Cite as

Disentangling peripheral parties’ issue packages in subnational elections

  • Sonia Alonso
  • Laura Cabeza
  • Braulio Gómez
Original Article


Our main objective in this article is to disentangle the diverse components of peripheral parties’ ‘issue packages’ and to show the different ways in which a peripheral party can present its nationalist credentials according to the strategic needs imposed by each particular context. Against one stream of literature that sees peripheral parties as single-issue or niche parties, we use manifesto data to demonstrate that peripheral parties do not limit their issue appeal to just one dimension of competition. On the contrary, as strategic and vote-maximising parties, they have a highly diversified issue portfolio. We also argue that the centre-periphery dimension has a complex issue structure that allows peripheral parties to offer attractive moderate images without renouncing their nationalist identity. For our analysis, we use the Regional Manifestos Project data on peripheral parties’ manifestos in Spain and the United Kingdom (Convergence and Union, Catalonian Republican Left, Basque Nationalist Party, EH-Bildu, Galician Nationalist Block, Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru) in their respective last regional elections (2011–2012).


peripheral parties issue packages salience and position subnational elections 



The work reported in this article has been funded in part by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Spain) through the National Plans of Research, Development and Technological Innovation (PN I+D+i) under the project Regional Manifestos Project (CSO2012-34704).


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonia Alonso
    • 1
  • Laura Cabeza
    • 2
  • Braulio Gómez
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Foreign Service in Qatar, Georgetown UniversityDohaState of Qatar
  2. 2.Research Training Group SOCLIFE, University of CologneCologneGermany
  3. 3.Social and Human Sciences Faculty, University of DeustoBilbaoSpain

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