The Routledge Handbook of Local Elections and Voting in Europe  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Local Elections and Voting in Europe

ISBN 9780367444334
Published February 28, 2022 by Routledge
564 Pages 71 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The Routledge Handbook of Local Elections and Voting in Europe represents the standard reference text and practical resource for everybody who analyzes issues such as local electoral systems, voting behavior, or political representation in Europe.

It provides comprehensive and expert coverage of 40 European countries – organized along the respective local state traditions – and in addressing a wide range of important questions related to local elections and voting, it broadens the scope of existing analyses quantitatively as well as qualitatively. Finally, it affords a more theoretically grounded typology of local elections and voting. Each country chapter is written by a leading expert and follows a rigorous conceptual framework for cross-national comparisons, providing an overview of the local government system, details on the place of local elections within the multilevel political system, specific features of the electoral system, analysis of the main electoral outcomes in recent decades, and, finally, reflective discussion. Representative democracy is as widespread at the local as at the national level, and as the significance of local authorities in Europe has increased in recent decades, local elections represent a crucial area of study.

The Routledge Handbook of Local Elections and Voting in Europe is an authoritative and essential reference text for scholars and students interested in local electoral politics and, more broadly, European studies, public administration, and political science.

Table of Contents

PART 1: Introduction

1. From perennial bridesmaids to fully fledged spouses: advancing the comparative study of local elections and voting

Adam Gendzìwiłł, Ulrik Kjaer, and Kristof Steyvers

PART 2: The Nordic States

2. Denmark: How two and a half parties rule within a multiparty system

Ulrik Kjaer

3. Finland: Local autonomy, tenacious national parties, and sovereign, but indifferent voters

Siv Sandberg

4. Iceland: Where localism prevails

Eva Marín Hlynsdóttir and Eva H. Önnudóttir

5. Norway: Local democracy by trial (and error)

Jo Saglie and Signe Bock Segaard

6. Sweden: Joint election day, party dominance, and extensive turnout

Anders Lidström

PART 3: The British Isles

7. Ireland: An atypical electoral system for an atypical local government system

Aodh Quinlivan, Mark Callanan, and Liam Weeks

8. United Kingdom: Diversity amid the Cinderella elections?

Alistair Clark and Alia Middleton

PART 4: The Rhinelandic States

9. Austria: Strong participation across federal diversity

Philipp Umek

10. Belgium: Between national barometer and local atmosphere

Kristof Steyvers

11. Germany: A variety of local elections in a federal system

Angelika Vetter

12. Liechtenstein: Two leading parties in a direct democratic framework

Wilfried Marxer

13. Luxembourg: Toward a thinner relationship between local and national elections?

Dan Schmit, Raphaël Kies, and Patrick Dumont

14. The Netherlands: Increasing responsibilities and nationalized elections

Henk van der Kolk

15. Switzerland: Low turnout but no second-order elections

Andreas Ladner

PART 5: The Southern European States

16. Andorra: Local elections in quasi-federal institutions

Lluís Medir, Pere Vilanova, and Esther Pano

17. Cyprus: National parties’ dominance and the decline of electoral participation

Andreas Kirlappos

18. France: Competition only in large cities

Bernard Dolez and Annie Laurent

19. Greece: Mayors in the foreground, parties behind the scenes

Nikos Hlepas and Theodore Chadjipadelis

20. Italy: Hard-to-decipher local elections and voting

Silvia Bolgherini and Selena Grimaldi

21. Portugal: Elections and voting in a dual-tier, local government system

António F. Tavares and Pedro J. Camões

22. Spain: One main system to govern them all? Stable institutions in heterogeneous contexts

Carmen Navarro, Lluís Medir, and Jaume Magre

PART 6: New Democracies: The Central and Eastern European States

23. Czech Republic: Local elections in a fragmented municipal system

Petr Voda

24. Estonia: The consolidation of partisan politics in a small country with small municipalities

Tõnis Saarts, Georg Sootla, and Kersten Kattai

25. Hungary: The expansion and the limits of national politics at the local level

Gábor Dobos

26. Latvia: Electoral drama in local governments

Iveta Reinholde and Malvīne Stučka

27. Lithuania: Between volatile electorate and revival of nonpartisanship

Aistė Lazauskienė and Jurga Bučaitė-Vilkė

28. Poland: A hyperlocalized system?

Adam Gendźwiłł

29. Slovakia: A gradual weakening of political parties in a stable local electoral system

Daniel Klimovský

30. Ukraine: The first experiences with voting in the amalgamated territorial communities

Valentyna Romanova

PART 7: New Democracies: The Southeastern European States

31. Albania: The path to decentralized democratic governance

Naz Feka, Iain Frank Wilson, and Alba Dakoli Wilson

32. Bosnia and Herzegovina: Local elections within a weak and contested state

Kiran Auerbach

33. Bulgaria: More open local electoral rules

Desislava Kalcheva and Daniela Ushatova

34. Croatia: Games of local democracy in the shadow of national politics

Mihovil Škarica and Tijana Vukojičić Tomić

35. Kosovo: Local elections and ethnic ramifications

Memet Memeti

36. Moldova: Party-shifting mayors within a nationalized local party system

Ion Beschieru

37. Montenegro: Local elections in the shadow of national politics

Olivera Komar and Slaven Živković

38. North Macedonia: Local elections and the parliamentary political dynamics

Veli Kreci and Islam Jusufi

39. Romania: A case of national parties ruling local politics

Cristina Stănuș and Andrei Gheorghiță

40. Serbia: Three phases of local electoral politics after 1990

Aleksandar Marinković and Novak Gajić

41. Slovenia: Where strong, nonpartisan mayors are reelected many times over

Simona Kukovič and Miro Haček

PART 8: Conclusions

42. 'Happily ever after'? Comparing local elections and voting in 40 European countries

Adam Gendźwiłł, Ulrik Kjaer, and Kristof Steyvers

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Adam Gendźwiłł is Assistant Professor in the Department of Local Development and Policy at the University of Warsaw, Poland.

Ulrik Kjaer is Professor of Political Science in the Department of Political Science at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.

Kristof Steyvers is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Ghent University, Belgium.


'This is a formidable book. The book provides a golden opportunity to learn about how democracy works at the local level. Forty great chapters about electoral systems, electoral participation, party politicization, and descriptive representation in 40 different countries, plus an enlightening introduction and conclusion in which the similarities and amazing variety of patterns are clearly highlighted. This is an absolute must read if you study local politics, and it is fun to read for everyone. You will learn a lot and you will want to study local elections because there are so many intriguing facts and patterns to make sense of'.

André BlaisUniversity of Montreal, Canada

'This comprehensive volume on local elections and voting in Europe is truly impressive. It offers a well-conceived theoretical two-dimensional structure which allows the many authors to provide comparable insights on the 40 countries covered, whether large or small, well-known or completely new to the scholarly community. The study of local elections has previously often suffered from a focus on only a few selected jurisdictions, but now presentations and data-access for a huge variety of countries are made available so that a new generation of local election studies can further enrich election studies in general. The editors’ effort is very commendable and there is no doubt that this volume is the new must-read for all comparativists working with elections at the local level. But there is also no doubt that even people who still prefer to focus on one country only can also benefit considerably from it'.

Jørgen Elklit, Aarhus University, Denmark

'Elections have been called "feasts of democracy". Without any doubt local governments across the globe are the main venue for such democratic feasts. It is therefore hard to believe that local polls have long been a blank spot on the map of our knowledge of democratic elections. This volume – produced by the fine-fleur of international experts in this emerging field of research – makes a giant step forward in charting this largely unknown territory'.

Bas Denters, University of Twente, The Netherlands