Leicester Inter-disciplinary Workshop on Elections, Public Opinion, Participation and Parties

Series Name Politics Workshop
Speaker Dr Laura Morales
Type Courses & Entertainment
When 23 Jan 2014, 01:00PM - 03:30PM
Venue ATT 208 Attenborough Seminar Block, Second floor
Open To University staff and students
For Bookings Contact lm254@leicester.ac.uk

“Political participation in the European Parliament: an analysis of populist radical right rapporteurs” 13:50 - 14:05

Populist radical right members of the European Parliament constitute 5% of all members in the current parliamentary term, and have been in representation to a greater or lesser extent in the Parliament since its inception in 1979. However, their presence in the Parliament has increased significantly since 1984, as has their fragmentation: the number of national parties in the populist radical right party family has increased as well as the number of parliamentary representatives.

As a group of niche MEPs on the fringes of the Parliament's political spectrum, populist radical right members have received opposition from the Parliament as a whole and measures have been taken to limit their engagement. For example, two Committees of Inquiry into Racism and Xenophobia, and changes to the composition of political groupings has made it more difficult for populist radical right MEPs to cooperate with one another.

This paper considers the extent to which these MEPs participate in the political process of the European Parliament, specifically in the process of rapporteurships (i.e. the means by which MEPs present reports to Parliament). Primarily using Legislative Observatory data from the fourth to the current parliamentary term, this paper analyses the level of engagement of populist radical right MEPs in the process.

‘Political Competition increases turnout” 14:25 - 14:40

Much analysis has focused on why individuals vote at all. This paper focuses on why turnout varies across elections and across districts. A simple micro-founded measure of policy based party competition is developed and calculated for every district at every election in 15 European countries over the period 1947-1998. Our results suggest that a large proportion of the within-district inter-election variance in turnout levels can be attributed to differences in the intensity of district-level of political competition.

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