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Voting "à la carte": Electoral Support for the Radical Right in the 2005 Bulgarian Parliamentary Elections

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Stefanova, Boyka

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Abstract This paper explores the sources of votes for radical-right parties using the example of electoral support for the Attack Party in the 2005 Bulgarian parliamentary elections. It expands theoretical propositions on the presence of extremist parties in electoral politics by proposing an analytical model which explains radical-right voting as the result of disequilibria between political supply and voter demand in the electoral market. The paper argues that support for the radical right represents unmet voter demand and combines à la carte elements of single-issue politics, xenophobia, protest and charismatic political agency in electoral choice valid for individual voters but not for clearly identifiable cohorts of voters. The paper examines the evidence on electoral support for the Attack Party against the premises of the à la carte model – the structure of electoral competition, radical-right political agency, and voter preferences – and finds that the radical-right vote in the 2005 election validates its key proposition: electoral support for the radical right lacks coherent social structure and correspondence between voter expectations and party programmatic appeal. Based on the Bulgarian case study the paper concludes that the ability to offer voting choices à la carte, regardless of its ideological positions and the political expectations of its own electorate represents a resource for the sustained presence of the radical right in the electoral market.
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Free Keywords Bulgaria; post-communist party systems; parliamentary elections; radical-right voting; Attack Party; à la carte model of electoral choice
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
Page/Pages p. 38-70
Journal Politics in Central Europe, 2 (2006) 2
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications