Edited by Henrik Enderlein, Sonja Wälti and Michael Zürn
Chapter 8: Multi-level Party Competition in Federal and Regional States
Charlie Jeffery Over the last 30 or so years democracies across the developed world have witnessed a decentralist turn. Processes of federalization, regionalization1 and devolution in hitherto centralized states have accumulated, while long-established federal states have experienced intensive debates about the scope for additional decentralization of their federal systems. This decentralist turn is documented in the new index of regional authority produced by Marks et al. (2008). Their index – covering 42 European Union (EU), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and other states – shows that regional authority was broadly stable from 1950–70, but has grown steadily since. Of those 42 states, 29 have become more regionalized, and only two (marginally) less regionalized. The biggest drivers of the growth of regional authority have been the proliferation of elected institutions at the regional level, and the accumulation of the functions of government held by those institutions. Over a similar period, and in an interconnected process, the number of ‘ethnoregionalist’ or ‘non-statewide’ parties competing for elected office in Europe has proliferated. A growing number of parties compete for office in only part of the territory of the state concerned, typically seeking to establish or increase the level of, and to control, institutions of self-government in that territory. Lane et al. (1991) counted 45 non-statewide parties (NSWPs) in Western Europe at the turn of the 1990s; Emanuele Massetti estimates there are now 93 in Western Europe which have sufficient organizational infrastructure to contest elections on a regular basis, of which around 30...
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