What is the most convincing explanation for the success (or failure) of green parties in Europe - Value change, party strategy or institutions


Essay, 2005

17 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Excerpt


Contents

I. Introduction

II. The Electoral Results of Green Parties in Western Europe - An Overview

III. Explaining the Success or Failure of Green Parties in Western Europe
III.1. Value Change as an Explaining Factor
III.2. The Role of Party Organisation and Party Strategy
III.3. The Institutional Design as an Explaining Factor

IV. Conclusion

V. Bibliography

I. Introduction

The emergence of Green parties towards the end of the 1970s was a significant turning point in the development of party systems in Western Europe. Most of them had been highly stable after World War II until the early 1970s. Therefore, in several countries, the Greens were the first to disrupt the stable party systems of the 1950s and 60s. But why Green parties? And why in the 1970s? And why were and are the Greens in some European countries more successful than in others? And why in a few did they almost completely fail?

The aim of this essay is to find answers to the questions mentioned, exploring whether value change, party strategy or institutions are the best explanation for the development of Green parties across Europe. Therefore the essay is divided into two main parts. The first rather small one elaborates in which countries in Western Europe Green parties have played a more or less significant role in the past thirty years and in which countries they haven’t. This is rather a descriptive approach answering the question of what is to be analysed in the second part. In this second more analytical part of the paper, the different approaches to explain the emergence of Green parties - value change, party stretegy or institutions - are explored searching for the most convincing one.

II. The Electoral Results of Green Parties in Western Europe - An Overview

There are currently nineteen Green parties existing at the national level, which have competed in more than 200 local and regional elections, and in almost 80 national elections in fifteen European countries so far. In some of them, for example in Belgium, Germany and Austria, among others, the Greens have already participated in eight general elections, whereas in others, among them Greece, Denmark and Spain (cf. Müller-Rommel and Table 1), they have contested only two or three times. Green parties are currently represented in twelve national parliaments and were or are coalition partners in six national governments, which are Belgium, France, Finland, Germany, Italy and Sweden. In these countries, and additionally in Luxembourg, Austria and the Netherlands, the Greens won more than six percent of the votes in the last national elections (cf. ibid.). The following table gives an overview of the electoral results of Green parties in fifteen Western European countries during 1978 and 2004.

Table 1: Electoral Results of Green parties in national elections

(in per cent)

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Taken from: Müller-Rommel 1998. Amended by data from Adam Carr’s Election Archive

These electoral results of Western European Greens can be summarized as follows (see also Müller-Rommel 1998: 148). The table shows the electoral performance of Green parties in European countries between 1978 and 2004. Between 1978 and 1984 only three parties can be defined as successful[1] - those in Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland. From 1985 to 1991 the Greens improved their electoral performance. Seven parties were successful during this period - in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, Sweden and Switzerland. And between 1992 and 1997 the Greens of two countries joined the aforesaid. These countries are France and the Netherlands. Moreover, the data tells us that there is currently no successful Green party in Denmark, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Ireland and Spain. All these observations shall now be explained in the second part of the paper.

[...]


[1] I apply the definition according to Peter Mair’s ‘numerical approach’, which assesses a party as successful if it participated in at least two national elections between 1978 and 2004 and gained on average three per cent or more of the national vote (cf. Mair 1991: 44 ff.).

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Details

Title
What is the most convincing explanation for the success (or failure) of green parties in Europe - Value change, party strategy or institutions
College
University of Nottingham  (School of Politics and International Relations)
Course
Politics and Society in Europe, a comparative approach
Grade
1,3
Author
Year
2005
Pages
17
Catalog Number
V54368
ISBN (eBook)
9783638495936
ISBN (Book)
9783640338160
File size
474 KB
Language
English
Notes
Arbeit wurde an der University of Nottingham mit der Note 70% bewertet. Das entspricht ca. einer 1,3!
Keywords
What, Europe, Value, Politics, Society, Europe
Quote paper
Sandra Graf (Author), 2005, What is the most convincing explanation for the success (or failure) of green parties in Europe - Value change, party strategy or institutions, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/54368

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