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Ideological proximity and voter turnout in multi-level systems: evidence from Spain

Ideological proximity and voter turnout in multi-level systems: evidence from Spain

Peer-Reviewed Article
Rosa M. Navarrete
Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties · February 2020
Publication year: 2020
Abstract
Does ideological proximity between the individual and political parties determine electoral participation in regional elections, as much as in national elections? Does the degree of self-rule of a region affect the interplay between ideological distance and turnout? This article addresses these questions and provides empirical evidence drawing upon individual-level and regional-level data from 53 regional elections and 4 national elections in Spain. Results indicate that citizens are more likely to vote when they perceive there is at least one congruent policy option among the party supply, and this happens at both regional and national levels. However, whether the closest party is in national government or whether it is a regionalist organization has a dissimilar impact on turnout in different tiers. This relationship between the type of party which is most ideologically proximate and electoral participation is partially affected by the degree of regional autonomy of the territory.
Constitutional courts and citizens’ perceptions of judicial systems in Europe

Constitutional courts and citizens’ perceptions of judicial systems in Europe

Peer-Reviewed Article
Rosa M. Navarrete, Pablo José Castillo Ortiz
Comparative European Politics · January 2019
Publication year: 2019
Abstract
In recent decades, constitutional courts have become essential institutions in the political systems of many European countries. At the legal level, constitutional courts are designed as organs intended to protect and enforce the normative constitution. At the political level, they are also expected to play a role in the protection of democratic systems of government and human rights. However, the stability of a democracy does not only depend on efficient institutional designs, but also on acceptable levels of public support for democratic institutions. Using data from the European Social Survey, this article shows that constitutional courts have negative effects on public views of the court system in at least two dimensions: perceptions of judicial independence and perceptions of judicial fairness. These effects, however, decrease with the age of the democratic system. Given the core role that diffuse support for the judiciary plays in the stability of the rule of law in a country, our findings suggest that, paradoxically, constitutional courts might have detrimental effects to the very goal that justifies their existence: the protection of democratic systems of government.
Do regional party primaries affect the ideological cohesion of political parties in multilevel systems? Evidence from Spain

Do regional party primaries affect the ideological cohesion of political parties in multilevel systems? Evidence from Spain

Peer-Reviewed Article
Marc Debus, Rosa M. Navarrete
Party Politics · November 2018
Publication year: 2018
Abstract
Parties have strong incentives to present a relatively cohesive policy position to the voters across different levels of a political system. However, the adoption of inclusive forms of candidate selection methods like primaries could result in the selection of top candidates for elections on the subnational sphere who are not favoured by the party leadership. This is often seen as a threat to high levels of intra-party programmatic cohesion. Because subnational party organizations depend to a significant degree on the support from their national party, we argue that regional party branches that selected their top candidates by means of a primary adopt a policy position that deviates less strongly from the one of their national party. However, candidates selected by primaries might need to be responsive to the preferences of their regional selectorate, so that the incentives for parties at a regional level to deviate substantially from the position of their national party organization could increase. By analysing the content of 150 regional election manifestos of Spanish parties, we find that if a party’s top candidate for a regional election is selected in a primary, then the policy distance between the respective regional and national party decreases. However, this effect is not observable for recently founded parties.