Home  ·  Calendar  ·  Countries  ·  References  ·  Links  ·  Content         
    Parties and Elections in Europe            

Explanatory notes about the database.

Abstract: Parties and Elections in Europe provides a comprehensive database about the parliamentary elections in the European countries and autonomous subdivisions since 1945 and additional informations about the political parties, the electoral systems, the acting political leaders, the governments and the electoral laws. The parties are characterised according to their political orientation. The website also contains an electoral calendar, news in brief and links to parties and election authorities.

Editor: The independent and private website was established by
2006-2012 zentele.de in 1997. The editor began his comparative study of political parties, party systems, elections and constitutional laws in the late 1980s. Thereafter he studied law and history. Today he practices law in Düsseldorf, Germany.

News in brief: Latest events around the world of parties and elections in Europe (e.g. elections, party mergers, splits, disbandments, foundings, renamings).

Calendar: Election dates of upcoming legislative elections in the European countries and autonomous subdivisions. Elections to upper houses in bicameral parliaments remain unconsidered.

Countries: Legislative elections in the European countries and autonomous subnational entities. Past results since 1945 are stored in the archive. Additional informations about the political leaders, the electoral laws and the composition of governments. Parties that gained no seats or failed to pass a threshold are usually not listed.
The political parties are characterised according to their political orientation (see below). Also listed are their memberships in Europarties and international party organisations (see below), their founding years and their websites (abbr.: a: associated party, o: observer, hist.: historical predecessor).


The political parties are characterised according to their political orientation. The categories primarily base on the Cleavage Model (Lipset/Rokkan defined four basic cleavages for western civilisations: Owner - Worker, State - Church, Urban - Rural, Centre - Periphery) and the main types of party families noted by v. Beyme (1984):

Communism: The left-wing communist parties adhere to Marxism developed by Marx and Engels in the 19th century. Their aim is the classless society based on common ownership of the means of production. They usually originated from revolutionary factions of social democratic parties (splits after the October Revolution). Today some favour reformist ways (formerly called eurocommunists), others adhere to revolutionary doctrines (see below).

Marxist-Leninist parties prefer a non-pluralist orthodox tendency developed by Lenin (official doctrine of the SU).
Trotskyist parties favour an international version established by Trotsky (permanent revolution through working class mass action).

Socialism: Socialist parties advocate a society characterised by equal access to resources for all individuals. They resist the capitalist globalisation and intend to reorganise the socio-economic order through (more) public or direct worker administration of the means of production. Usually they developed out of the New Left that came up in the mid-1960s or former communist parties.

Democratic socialist parties are closely related to social democratic parties. These parties prefer a large public sector, redistributive tax policies, workers' control of labour processes and public ownership of key industries.
Eco-socialist parties combine democratic socialist, green and anti-globalisation policies.

Social democracy: Social democratic parties are center-left parties rooted in the socialist labour movement of the 19th century. This (today) cross-class parties generally advocate a democratic welfare state and a mixed economy that contains privately-owned and state-owned enterprises. They adhere to values as freedom, solidarity, social justice and equality of rights and opportunities.

Third Way parties incorporate (economically) liberal topics as deregulations, privatisations, lower taxes and limited welfare.

Green politics: Most of the green parties were founded in the late 1970s as part of the new social movements that came up in the mid-1960s (in particular the ecology, peace, women's and anti-nuclear movements). They are ecological parties based on largely post-materialist values as nonviolence, civil and human rights, grassroots and participatory democracy, feminism, animal welfare and social justice. A lot of them, especially in Western Europe, are part of the anti-globalisation movement.

Regionalism: Regionalist parties focus on the interests of a particular region. They intend to increase the region's influence. Their aim is a decentralisation of governance and autonomy or a greater degree of autonomy.

Separatist parties advocate a full political secession of a particular region and the formation of a new state.
Minority (ethoregionalist) parties intend to secure and to increase the rights of an ethnical or linguistical minority.

Centrism: Centrist parties are usually moderate traditionalist parties which are in the centre of the political spectrum and take a centrist position on the socio-economic left-right scale.

Liberalism: Liberal parties are middle-class parties based on the tradition of political liberalism, a movement of the 18th century. The doctrine of liberalism considers personal freedom to be the most important goal. In particular it stresses free markets, limited government interventions, individual property rights and equality for all citizens under the law as well as civil liberties.

Social liberal parties are more progressive; they emphasise civil liberties and social market economies.
Conservative liberal parties combine liberal policies with more traditional stances on social and ethical issues.
Economic liberal parties exclusively adhere to economic aspects of liberalism: strict free markets, low taxes and a minimised state (literally used are also the terms neoliberalism, neoclassical liberalism and classical liberalism).

Christian democracy: The Christian social doctrine (basic principle: human dignity) is the inspiration of the Christian democratic parties. This cross-class parties ideologically combine Christian ethical and moderate social conservative positions with a social market model. They are very supportive of family values and adhere to principles as freedom, justice, solidarity and subsidiarity.

Conservatism: Originally inspired by natural law and formed by the upper-class, conservative parties today are mainly middle-class organisations that favour traditional values as authority, nation, national cultur, religion and family. They seek to preserve the current status quo or to reform the society only slowly. Over the time they adopted some liberal values, especially on economic issues.

Liberal conservative parties combine conservative policies with more moderate or liberal stances on social and ethical issues (literally the term is also used for a variant of conservatism which incorporates free market policies).
National conservative parties generally concentrate on national interests (patriotism), tend to Eurosceptic positions and favour traditional social and ethical views.
Social conservative parties promote public morality; they are culturally, ethically and socially strict traditional.

Nationalism: Nationalist parties believe that the nation with its ethnical, linguistical and cultural identity and its sovereignty is of primary importance.

Right-wing populist parties are protest parties that appeal to the frustrations of the public. Their strategy rely on a combination of (ethno-) nationalism with a radical critique of the political institutions. They prefer strict immigration and law-and-order polices, tend to Euroscepticism and often pretend liberal values.
Far right politics is a collection label for (ideologically heterogeneous) ultra-nationalist parties. They adhere to a pure form of the nation defined by ethnicity. These parties usually challenge the legal equality of all humans. Most of them tend to forms of xenophobia, racism, homophobia, collectivism and authoritarianism. Normally they are highly critical or hostile to the present liberal democracies and their pluralist values.

Single-issues: Agrarianism, Animal welfare, Anti-capitalism, Anti-corruption, Anti-nationalism, Centralism, Copyright and patent reform, Direct democracy, Environmentalism, Euroscepticism, Feminism, Freedom of information, Gaullism, Inter-ethnical cooperation, Kemalism, Laicism, Loyalism, Monarchism, Pensioners' interests, Religious beliefs (Christian left and right, Evangelicalism, Islamism etc.), Republicanism, Souverainism, Statism, Unionism.

Europarties and international party organisations<

fficially recognised Europarties in 2010 (formally called political parties at European level, Article 10 Treaty on EU, TEU). An Europarty is a political party operating transnationally in Europe and in the institutions of the European Union. According to EU regulations it must have received in one quarter of the member states 3% of the votes at the last European Parliament election or it must be representated in one quarter of member states by members of the European Parliament, a national or regional parliament. All Europarties are predominantly made up of national member parties:

European People's Party (EPP) < European Democratic Party (EDP) <
Party of European Socialists (PES) < European Free Alliance (EFA) <
European Liberal Democrat and R. P. (ELDR) < EUDemocrats (EUD) <
European Green Party (EGP) < Alliance for Europe of the Nations (AEN)
Alliance of Europ. Conserv. and Ref. (AECR) European Christian Political Mov. (ECPM) <
Party of the European Left (EL) < Libertas (suspended; ceased activity in 2009)

International party organisations (listed are organisations with at least one member party in the EP or a national parliament):

Socialist International (SI) < Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) <
Centrist Democrat International (CDI) < Int. Meeting of Com. and W. Parties (IMCWP) <
International Democrat Union (IDU) < Union of Communist Parties - CPSU (KPSS) <
Liberal International (LI) < Nordic Green Left Alliance (NGLA) <
Global Greens (GG) < European Anti-Capitalist Left (EACL) <
Pirate Party International (PPI) < Alliance of Europ. National Movements (AENM)

References: Primary sources for election results are central election commissions, parliaments, departments of statistics and databases of research instituts. Literature, newspapers and broadcasters are additionally used in case of need. Detailed informations and sources are listed below each country study.
The party classifications (see above) and other informations base on literature, news, personal impressions, the parties' origins and self-assessments and their membership in Europarties and international party organisations (see above).

Links: References to interesting resources on the web around elections and political parties. Central election commissions and other election authorities are listed below each country study.

Terms of use: The website is devoted to share the informations on a free basis. All figures can be saved for private purposes. Every publication in media or a commercial use requires written approval.

2006-2012 zentele.de, Merkurstraße 1, 40223 Düsseldorf (Germany). Mail: info@parties-and-elections.de.

© 1997-2010
2006-2012 zentele.de (  ). News, suggestions and corrections are always welcome.