About this Research Topic
The mobilization and representation of societal demands and grievances is a central function of political parties and party systems in democratic regimes. Sudden (internal or external) crises can function as a major catalyst for party system change, leading to the exit of existing parties and the entry of new ones into electoral contests and parliaments. For instance, the EU financial crisis has led to the rise of major new players such as the Five Star Movement, the migration crisis has boosted the support for right-wing populist parties such as the Alternative for Germany. Major corruption scandals have led to the transformation of the Italian party system - notably through the demise of the Christian Democrats and entry of Forza Italia. Other examples are the Czech Republic's Public Affairs Party which successfully mobilized against corruption, but later fell apart due to bribery-related allegations, or the rise of Bolsonaro's Alliance for Brazil in the wake of the corruption scandal within the Worker's Party.
This Research Topic is interested in the link between democracies' crisis exposure (economic crises, scandals discrediting political elites, migration crises, COVID-19, etc.) and patterns of party entry and exit, as well as their short- and long-term consequences for democracy. Party entry and exit can be a force for renewal, but also a source of destabilization. We are interested in the following questions on that theme:
1) Which newcomers have (successfully) entered elections and parliaments in response to major crises, which established parties lost their privileged status or even had to exit, and what role did the nature of the crisis play?
2) Were new entries there to stay or did they vanish after a short period of turmoil leaving old parties in charge? And which democracies did experience party system change through the replacement of old parties?
3) How important is the mismatch in electoral markets between party offers and voter demands to account for the medium- and long-term consequences of party entry and the likelihood of permanent party exit (rather than just the rebranding of party labels)?
4) How do new party entry and old party exit interact in crisis situations? What role does the type of entry play (e.g. a novel platform, organization or label; the rise of outsiders rather than purifiers)? How does the type of entry affect the likelihood and nature of exit (e.g. through dissolution, merger or name change)?
Most studies on party entry and exit have focused on Western Europe and increasingly on the newer democracies of Central and Eastern Europe. We also welcome contributions that deepen our understanding of the link between crisis exposure and party entry and exit in other parts of the world. This includes systems in which democratic politics is much less consolidated, where party entry and exit can have particularly fundamental impacts on the stability of the political regime. It also includes scholarship on patterns of party entry and exit in authoritarian systems that while not being fully democratized have competitive elections.
Keywords: Party Entry, Party Exit, Party System Change, Crisis
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