‘CfP: Rewriting the policy agenda in Southern Europe: party pledges, issue prioritisation and policymaking’, ECPR General Conference, Prague, September 2016′

Rewriting the policy agenda in Southern Europe: party pledges, issue prioritisation and policy-making

The economic downturn and the Southern Eurozone experience of ‘Memorandum governance’ have reordered policy priorities and imposed new constraints on national policy making. Of particular importance are questions about how the policy agenda is being shaped in Southern Europe, where and how decisions are made and by whom, and how parties/governments have reconciled responding to their voters’ expectations with fulfilling their pledges. It is a matter of fact that Southern Europe has experienced growing unpopularity of the governing parties, fragmentation of the party system, radicalisation of politics, the emergence of new radical parties and increased protest voting.  All these factors challenge the very essence of parliamentary democracy, in which elections should provide a guide for public policies.

In this context, the panel analyses a main catalyst of popular discontent: the policy supply of political parties. How has the making of the policy agenda changed in Southern Europe in the context of the crisis? What is the level of congruence between the policy commitments of parties before the elections and their subsequent acts within parliament and government? Has a constrained agenda deteriorated the congruence between pledges and fulfilment and the overall standards of democratic representation? 

We welcome contributions that aim at empirically assessing how the making of the policy agenda has changed in Southern Europe in the past turbulent years. We expect that a constrained agenda has introduced a large disconnection between the policy platforms used to contest the elections and the following acts adopted by parliament and government. The overall responsiveness of parties and national institutions, as well as their respect of the electoral mandate, may have deteriorated consequently. However, this phenomenon may impact in different ways the various countries of Southern Europe.

We expect to receive paper proposals that focus, either comparatively or through case-studies, on the different stages of the policy agenda, from the making of party manifestos and electoral pledges to the implementation of policies.

In order to be considered for inclusion in the panel proposal, paper proposals should be sent before the deadline of February 15th to the following addresses:

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