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Ideal Type Second-Order Elections? Regional Elections in Six Central and Eastern European Countries

TitleIdeal Type Second-Order Elections? Regional Elections in Six Central and Eastern European Countries
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsSchakel, Arjan H.
Conference Name1st European Conference on Comparative Electoral Research
KeywordsEastern Europe, regional election, second-order election
Abstract

The theory on second-order elections state that when voters do not care about elections, they tend to turn out less and they tend to support opposition, regional and new parties to the detriment of government parties. However, the theory does not spell out under what conditions we may expect greater or smaller vote share losses for government parties nor does it predict when voters tend to support opposition, new or regional parties when they decide not to support the government party. As regional elections in Eastern Europe can be described as ‘typical’ second-order elections, they provide a good basis to delve into this question. This paper analyzes second-order effects for regional elections in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, and finds thatthe extent of second-order effects relates to the difference in turnout between regional and national elections and the state of the economy at the time of the regional election rather than to the placement of the regional election in the national election cycle as is claimed by the second-order election model.

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