Decentralization and Party Organizational Change: The British and Spanish Statewide Parties Compared
As explained in the Introduction, the existence of several levels of party competition represents a particular challenge for statewide parties. On the one hand, they must present policy platforms for statewide elections aimed at attracting support from across the state and defending some version of the ‘national or statewide interest’; on the other hand, regional elections create more space for regional issues. These parties are confronted with the strategic dilemma of having to compete to appeal to the whole electorate in statewide elections and to regional sections of this electorate in regional elections. In multinational countries such as Spain and the UK, statewide parties are, moreover, competing against minority nationalist or ethno-regionalist parties which politicize territorial issues and tend to emphasize the conflicting aspect of their region’s relations with the centre. Territorial differences increase the odds of policy divergence between the central and regional levels.
KeywordsRegional Leader Labour Party Regional Election Conservative Party Central Party
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