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Partisan politics and electoral procedure at the European level: The implications of the Spitzenkandidaten for the development of European parliamentarism

Lehmann, Wilhelm (2015) Partisan politics and electoral procedure at the European level: The implications of the Spitzenkandidaten for the development of European parliamentarism. [Conference Proceedings] (Submitted)

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    From a constitutional perspective, two objectives were at the origin of the idea to have the Presidential candidates for the European Commission selected by European party leaders. The principal idea was to provide European political parties with an important task and thus to convince citizens that they have a choice on the next European political agenda and that there is more to the EU than summits of heads of state or government. Derived from this it was hoped that turnout in the 2014 elections would benefit from the increased attention given to the electoral campaign. Decreasing voter participation in European elections has been a recurring theme in European studies and the theory of the EU’s political legitimacy, while electoral studies have provided some limited guidance how to make the European elections a "first-order" event. As overall turnout in 2014 barely budged compared to the 2009 elections, the goal to stimulate citizens' interest was attained only in some Member States. The paper will defend the proposition that one crucial factor to change this is a more influential role of European political parties, requiring a solid institutionalisation, notably through the new party statute agreed at the end of the 7th parliamentary term. In this context, some national case law impinging on European electoral procedure is discussed as an important constraint for giving Euro-parties stronger roots in national politics. On the basis of an assessment of the innovations introduced for the 2014 elections, such as the competitive appointment of candidates for the Commission presidency, the paper will also scrutinise the viability of further efforts to mobilise the European electorate in times of constitutional fatigue, diversity of national traditions and Eurosceptic political entrepreneurs.

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    Item Type: Conference Proceedings
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > general
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2015 (14th), March 4-7, 2015
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2018 10:48
    Number of Pages: 29
    Last Modified: 12 Mar 2018 16:03

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