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Challenging business as usual? The rise of new parties in Spain in times of crisis

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The two-party system in Spain collapsed in the aftermath of the Great Recession with the appearance of two new parties, Podemos and Ciudadanos. How are we to understand the sudden emergence of these new formations? Using 2015 and 2016 post-electoral survey data to map the ideological space and model voting behaviour, it is shown that economic voting is only part of the story. This article contends that the transformations in the Spanish party system are best understood through the prism of the crisis of representation that unfolded alongside the severe economic crisis. It is dissatisfaction with the political system that drives the vote for both new parties. The results also show that a unidimensional ideological structure and a generational divide cut across these critical attitudes. The young and politically dissatisfied are more likely to vote for new parties, each on different sides of the ideological spectrum.
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Keywords: Ciudadanos; Podemos; Spain; crisis of representation; new parties; political crisis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Political and Social Sciences, European University Institute, Florence, Italy

Publication date: March 4, 2018

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