In the UK, the arrival of devolution has compelled statewide parties to adapt their internal organization and campaign strategies to the presence of regional elections. The dynamics of party competition in which these regional elections are fought are noticeably distinct from the pattern of party competition which prevails in statewide elections. One of the main causes of such highly differentiated dynamics is the substantial presence of autonomist parties, the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Plaid Cymru, respectively in Scotland and Wales. Although these parties have existed for a very long time (Plaid Cymru was founded in 1925 and the SNP in 1934), they have rarely been significant players in the statewide political arena. Devolution represented for them a clear opportunity to weigh into the political debate. Within their regional party systems they have routinely collected 20 percent of the vote or more and gained significant numbers of seats in regional elections. Consequently, regional party competition has increased the pressure on statewide parties to diversify their regional campaign strategies and messages. However, too much diversification may undermine the cohesion of the statewide parties. This chapter explores, and seeks to explain, how the British statewide parties sought to balance these two conflicting goals (diversification versus cohesion) by analysing their party programmes for statewide and regional elections (Scotland and Wales) between 1997 and 2003.1
- Party System
- Labour Party
- Regional Election
- Conservative Party
- Central Party
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© 2009 Elodie Fabre and Enric Martínez-Herrera
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Fabre, E., Martínez-Herrera, E. (2009). Statewide Parties and Regional Party Competition: An Analysis of Party Manifestos in the United Kingdom. In: Swenden, W., Maddens, B. (eds) Territorial Party Politics in Western Europe. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230582941_12
Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London
Print ISBN: 978-1-349-35651-5
Online ISBN: 978-0-230-58294-1
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