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Change as a permanent state? Party systems and political competition in contemporary democracy

Principal Investigator:

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

In his DFG-funded project, PD Dr Aiko Wagner investigates the current transformation of party systems in European democracies. The central concern of the project is to clarify whether this change is a transitional phenomenon that leads to a re-stabilisation of the ties between the parties and their voters (realignment), or whether it is a permanent change that favours a de-institutionalisation of the party systems.

By combining comparative analyses and detailed case studies, especially on the Federal Republic of Germany, and integrating perspectives from research on political competition (including party-specific differences, non-spatial factors and the micro-level of voting behaviour), the project aims to better understand the nature and causes of party system change in order to shed light on the effects on the legitimacy, quality and stability of representative democracy.