Exploring the Role of Regional Parties in the Nordic Autonomies
Why Entrenched Self-Government Matters
Keywords:Regional parties, Self-government, Population size, Language/cultural homogeneity, The Faroe Islands, Greenland, The Åland Islands
In this article we combine two traditions within political science: regional party research and self- government research. The reason behind this rationale is to show that mobilization of the electorate is solely in the hands of regional parties in the three autonomous islands under investigation: the Faroe Islands, Greenland and the Åland Islands. We use most similar systems design as an approach to look at how the different party systems have evolved over time. The degree of entrenched self-rule has been different over time but is now on a similar level. The background variables that have been held constant in this context are the population size and the degree of a distinct culture and language, which emanates from a homogenous population on the islands. A distinct party system can evolve exclusively around a national parliament and an entrenched regional assembly. In our study regional parties are members of both. Self-government has a severe impact on the birth of regional parties, and their incumbents serve in the first instance as agents for the regional government in national parliaments. In this study we have chosen to look at the impact of entrenched self-government on regional parties and regional party systems. Self-government facilitates birth of new parties, and when the devolved government is well consolidated it gives fuel to the emergence of a distinct full-scale party system.
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