Dec 112013
 

SPD votes on the coalition agreement

It’ another slow week for German politics, what with the Mandela Memorial, near-civil war in Thailand, the standoff in Ukraine and the South Korean/Japanese Chinese skirmishes. BUT: a small-scale CDU party conference of some 180 delegates has approved unanimously of the CDU/CSU/SPD agreement (a ‘Coalition Treaty’ in German parlance, though it can not be challenged in/enforced by the Constitutional Court). Delegates at a similar CSU conference have done their bit a month ago. Much more interesting is of course the case of the SPD, which put the agreement to a referendum by their 472,000 rank-and-file members.

The all-postal ballot will end tomorrow at midnight, and we will know the result on Saturday. So far, more than 300,000 people have voted. That alone is remarkable.

What if?

Last weekend, a conference of the party’s youth organisation passed a resolution that recommends members should vote against the agreement. The party leadership was less than delighted.

No one knows exactly what the rest of the members think. It’s entirely conceivable that a majority votes against, while it is inconceivable that the current leadership (broadly defined) that negotiated the agreement could survive such an embarrassment. The most likely outcome would be elections in February, though I’m sure that Merkel and the Greens would have another series of fireside chats if push came to shove. And if there were elections, the SPD would tank.

I’m sure the SPD members will bear this twin scenario in mind when they make their choice.

Nov 212010
 

I’ve recently converted my Strassburg talk on the social base of the Extreme Right Vote in Western Europe into a chapter for the volume that documents the conference.  The result is a medium-length review of the literature on the Extreme Right’s electorate that tries to cover the main points from some twenty years worth of academic debate on the subject.

Aug 282009
 

In my pet model, the salience of issues such as immigration or national identiy in the manifestos of established parties

Random shock to salience - support cannot be bothered to react

Random shock to salience - support cannot be bothered to react

makes a vote for the extreme right/radical right much more likely. There is, however, a potential problem with this argument: if radical right support is stable in the medium term, and if other parties react to past successes for the radical right by modifying their manifestos, this relationship might be spurious. In my paper for the ECPR conference at Potsdam, I use a time-series model  to address this problem: I estimate a Vector Auto Regression (VAR) of radical right support and issue salience in France (while controlling for immigration and unemployment). As it turns out, salience is independent of previous radical right success. This finding provides some support for my original argument, though the analysis  preliminary and restricted to France (at the moment).

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May 282008
 

It’s almost unbelievable: after some six months of communication problems with the publishers, my recent book on the extreme right vote in Western Europe since the 1980s is finally out and ready for you to order and read (qualification: if you read German). If you don’t read German, you might still be interested in a brief English summary of my findings on the Extreme Right vote, including various presentations and other goodies.