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Radical Left Parties and the Role of Euroscepticism

Wagner, Sarah (2022) Radical Left Parties and the Role of Euroscepticism. PhD thesis, University of Essex.


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Globalization has shifted the political competition landscape in Western Europe. Extensive research has studied the impact of this on the radical right, yet little attention has been paid to the radical left. This dissertation, comprised of three papers, analyses the impact of the increased European integration emphasis on the radical left. My first paper analyses whether there is a beneficial policy position for the radical left on European integration. The chapter finds that there is an electoral benefit to a Eurosceptic position for radical left parties but also shows that this benefit is constrained when a Eurosceptic competitor, i.e. radical right party, enters the party system. My second paper follows from this and examines an alternative approach for the radical left on European integration. While the benefit of a Eurosceptic position can be constrained, blurring the position on European integration can help avoid losing pro-EU voters. The chapter finds that position blurring on EU integration is beneficial when there is electorate polarization but harmful when the electorate is in consensus on EU integration. When there is consensus, radical left parties benefit from a clear position on EU integration. My third paper is co-authored with Royce Carroll and zooms into the findings of the first two chapters by examining the demand side of Euroscepticism. The paper finds that European integration is an important issue for vote choice of the electorate. The results of the chapter show that the more Eurosceptic voters are, the higher their propensity to vote for a radical left party becomes. These three papers demonstrate how the issue of European integration is in the centre of radical left strategy from a supply and demand side perspective. This thesis contributes to the literature by providing a detailed understanding of the success of small parties beyond their issue ownership.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Sarah Wagner
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2022 16:13
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2022 16:13

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