European elections and political structuring. A comparative analysis
The project analyzes the relationship between the electoral connection of citizens and parties and the structuring of political conflict in European elections. It aims at examining whether European elections have an independent structuring effect on political conflict and whether this effect has intensified in line with the increasing competencies of the European Parliament. The project assumes that European elections only have a mobilizing and legitimizing power the programmatic offers of political parties, the public debate over political conflicts in election campaigns, and voter preferences are tightly connected and linked to salient European issues. This presupposes that elections can structure political conflicts and channel them into the political system of the EU.
The project is based on a dynamic concept of political conflict structuring. This concept conceptualizes the relationship between citizens preferences and the programmatic offers by political parties as strategic interaction. The concept emphasizes the role of political organizations, political parties in particular, which articulate and mobilize political conflicts, the strategies these parties utilize, and the electoral contexts, in which they operate.