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Lecture

Political Science Lunch Research Seminar: How do Parties Recover? A Comparative Analysis of Labour and D66 in Crisis

Date
Tuesday 25 October 2016
Time
Location
Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Room
5.A37

Lunch Research SeminarElectoral volatility poses an increasing challenge to parties in Western democracies. Where previously they were able to count on a more or less stable support base, parties increasingly see their vote shares fluctuate wildly. According to the existing literature on party change, such a challenging external environment and the shocks it gives to parties can explain party change. However, despite a number of case studies on the subject, a structural theory of how parties try to recover and why remains underdeveloped.

Martijn van Nijnanten will present a theoretical framework and preliminary empirical results in an effort to construct a theory of how crises affect different parties in different ways. How do parties react to electoral shocks, and why do different parties react in different ways? Losing a substantial part of its electorate in a single election puts a party’s resources under heavy strain and might even call into question its continued existence. The two cases studied are the crises experienced by the British Labour Party (1979-1997) and the Dutch Democrats ’66 (1982-1986).

Martijn van Nijnanten has been working as a PhD candidate in the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University since september 2014. Prior to starting his PhD track, he studied political science at Leiden University as a research master student, receiving his MSc degree. His primary research interest is the study of political parties, especially party success and processes of party change. His PhD research is focused on political parties experiencing a state of crisis following an external shock like a crushing electoral defeat or severe internal tensions, asking whether and how these parties recover.

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