Europe and the Crisis of Democracy and the Crisis of Democracy Elections in Europe 1999-2002 Notre...
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LES CAHIERS EUROPEENS DE SCIENCES PO.
> N 06/2002
Europe and the Crisis of Democracy
Elections in Europe 1999-2002
Sciences PoInstitut Universitaire Europen
Notre Europe, Sciences Po, IUE Europe and the Crisis of Democracy
Les Cahiers europens de Sciences Po. n 06/2002
Les Cahiers europens de Sciences Po. n 06/2002
Europe and the Crisis of Democracy. Elections in Europe 1999-2002
Proceedings of the seminar organised by Notre Europe, Sciences Po (Paris) and The European University Institute (Florence), Paris, October 11, 2002 Citation : Notre Europe, Sciences Po et IUE (2002), Europe and the Crisis of Democracy,Les Cahiers europens de Sciences Po, n 06, Paris: Centre d'tudes europennes atSciences Po.
STUDY AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH
Notre Europe, November 2002
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Sciences Po is the name given to the grouping of the Fondation nationale des sciences politiques and the Institut dtudes politiques of Paris, a higher education establishment. If we add the researchers of FNSP and those of CNRS, as well as the staff of Education nationale and those receiving state grants for research, Sciences Po comprises more than 200 temporary and professional researchers. In quantitative terms, this amounts to considerable potential, and makes Sciences Po one of the most important institutions in social science research in France. Europe occupies a significant role in the activities of several of its research centres.
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PARTICIPANTS INTRODUCTION (Renaud Dehousse) 1 (version franaise) CONTRIBUTIONS 7
Political Disenchantment and Populist Mobilisation in Austria and Switzerland (Hans-Georg Betz) 7
Discontent and the success of the populist right in Flanders and Belgium (Mark Elchardus) 9
Denmark: A landslide to the right by trustful voters (Jrgen Goul Andersen) 13
Democratic Disillusion in Eastern Europe (Cas Mudde) 16
Democratic disillusion and protest vote in France (Nonna Mayer) 19
Political developments in the Netherlands: Volatility & the Rise & Decline of a Populist movement (Hans Keman) 22
Disillusionment with Democracy and Populism in Poland (Radoslaw Markowski) 28
Democratic Disillusion in the United Kingdom (Paul Taggart) 32
Democratic Disillusion in Slovakia (Peter Ucen) 35
SYNTHESIS OF THE DISCUSSION (Jean Louis Arnaud) 41 (version franaise)
PARTICIPANTS: ANDERSEN, Jrgen Goul Aalborg University
ARNAUD, Jean-Louis Notre Europe
BARTOLINI, Stefano European University Institute Florence
BETZ, Hans-Georg University of Geneva
BOURLANGES, Jean-Louis Member of the European Parliament
CAUTRES, Bruno Institut d'Etudes Politiques, Grenoble
DEHOUSSE, Renaud Sciences Po, Paris / Notre Europe
ELCHARDUS, Mark Vrye Universiteit Brussels
GRUNBERG, Grard CEVIPOF, Sciences Po, Paris
KEMAN, Hans Vrye Universiteit Amsterdam
KLINGEMANN, Hans-Dieter Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin
MARKOWSKI, Radoslaw Centre for Russian Central and East European Studies, Rutgers University
MAYER, Nonna CEVIPOF, Sciences Po, Paris
MUDDE, Cas University of Antwerp
NESTOR, Jean Notre Europe
SCHMITTER, Philippe European University Institute Florence
TAGGART, Paul University of Sussex
UCEN, Peter International Republican Institute Bratislava
Since 1999, Europe has been experiencing a period of electoral turmoil, mainly
characterised by the emergence of populist movements led by somewhat offbeat characters:
Jrg Haider's FP, Jean-Marie Le Pen's Front National, the Pim Fortuyn List, etc. While
recent polls have prompted much comment and passionate debate, an important aspect of the
phenomenon has been ignored. What lessons can be drawn at European level from the rising
protest vote in many countries of the Union? And are there any direct or indirect links between these national shocks and the European integration process?
The question is worth asking, at a time when the European Union is preparing to
complete a historic enlargement process and is in the midst of a debate on its institutional
architecture which will necessarily require it to reflect on its relationship with citizens.
However, we should not underestimate the complexity of the matter. It is hard enough
to determine what lessons the European elections hold for the Union. Given the lack of clear
European issues, these are often no more than life-size surveys of the popularity of the
governments in power. We must therefore be all the more cautious when looking at national
polls, where European affairs have generally been brushed under the carpet.
While initial analyses have focused on political supply (populist movements and their
charismatic leaders), our aim, within the framework of this exercise, was to examine the
demand side. Why have voters rejected the "traditional" parties and lent their support to
Rise in populism or crisis of representative democracy?
One initial point is clear. Populist movements have not gained a foothold everywhere.
The United Kingdom has been spared, as has Germany, where the far right (whose advances
in certain local elections had prompted a degree of concern) lost ground in the latest
legislative polls. However, fairly widespread distrust of politics can undoubtedly be noted
There is no shortage of symptoms, as can be seen from the sheets below. Voter turnout
is dropping everywhere. In France, it barely reached 71.6% in the first round of the
presidential elections (a decrease of almost 7% compared with 1995). And only 64.4% of
voters bothered to turn out for the legislative elections (3.5% less than 1997), despite having
mobilised in large numbers for the second round of the presidential elections. Voter volatility
has also increased. In the polls of June 2002, 30.7% of Dutch voters changed camp compared
with the previous elections. Volatility is also reflected in the emergence of new parties, that
are sometimes short- lived and often focused on a single cause (the pensioners' party in the
Netherlands, the hunters of Chasse, pche, nature et tradition in France, etc.).
And there are other patent signs of disaffection with politics beyond the elections
themselves. Political activism is waning and the decline is perceptible even in the United
Kingdom, although a high number of people there claim to be happy with the way democracy
is working. Confidence in political parties has also faded: 82% of persons surveyed in France
believe that politicians are not concerned about citizens' welfare. By way of comparison, this
indicator of distrust stands at "only" 68% in Slovakia (the accession candidate often said to
have the most worrying political system). And it seems that, in many countries, the
confidence crisis is affecting not just the parties but all representative organisations, including
Hence this first conclusion: at European level, the most worrying factor in the latest
electoral polls is not so much the rise in populism (which is undeniable, although of varying
significance from one country to the next) as the crisis in representative democracy (which
does, for its part, seem to be affecting most European countries). It is also notable that the
confidence crisis seems deeper in "consoc