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The 2014 Elections in Italy for the European Parliament: an Italian Affair?

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Soare, Sorina

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Abstract The paper aims to inquire into whether the Italian case still provides evidence in favor of the standard theoretical framework according to which European elections are second-order national elections in which national rather than European issues are the main determinants of voter choice. Our findings are rather contradictory. First, the main party in the government coalition received a higher share of votes compared with the results in the previous 2013 national election, confirming a so-called honeymoon period between the Italian voters and the Democratic Party (PD). Still, despite the increased relevance of EU issues in the electoral campaign, the primary motivation of politicians and parties remains their interest in holding on to national government office or to an opposition status (a strategic position for the Five Star Movement - M5S). Second, the lower turnout in European than in national elections was confirmed despite Prime Minister Renzi's successful mobilization of the PD electorate. Though large parties like Forza Italia and M5S lost votes, few small parties surpassed the electoral threshold. Broadly speaking, this analysis points to a vote of trust in government rather than a clear stance on EU issues, considering that Italian voters expressed their preferences mainly in relation to the new government formula rather than to the EU agenda or performance of previous members of the European Parliament.
Keywords Italy; party; party system; election campaign; Western European Union; EU; parliamentary election
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
Page/Pages p. 315-332
Journal Studia Politica : Romanian Political Science Review, 14 (2014) 3
ISSN 1582-4551
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works