Challenger parties Europe Elections Comparative politics Qualitative comparative analysis
VAN KESSEL, S., 2015. Up to the challenge? The electoral performance of challenger parties after their first period in power. Compass Working Paper 2015-84, 47pp.
Across Europe, a substantial amount of parties have appeared which are
characterised by a criticism of mainstream ideologies or the political elites more
generally. Some of these parties have even succeeded in securing executive power. This
paper examines the conditions underlying the electoral survival and demise of a broad
range of ‘challenger parties’ after their first term in office. The central puzzle is why
some newly governing challenger parties were able to survive reasonably well in the
subsequent parliamentary election, while others failed to shield themselves from the
electoral hazards of office. The paper presents the results of a fuzzy set Qualitative
Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) of 25 newly governing parties across Europe. It shows
that survivors did not necessarily leave a great impression in office, but that they were
generally characterised by a higher degree of organisational cohesion and rootedness
than their less successful counterparts.
This is a working paper published as part of the Compass series.