Up to the challenge? The electoral performance of challenger parties after their first period in power

2016-06-03T12:39:57Z (GMT) by Stijn Van Kessel
Across Europe, a substantial amount of parties have appeared which are characterised by a criticism of mainstream ideologies or the political elites more generally. Some of these parties have even succeeded in securing executive power. This paper examines the conditions underlying the electoral survival and demise of a broad range of ‘challenger parties’ after their first term in office. The central puzzle is why some newly governing challenger parties were able to survive reasonably well in the subsequent parliamentary election, while others failed to shield themselves from the electoral hazards of office. The paper presents the results of a fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) of 25 newly governing parties across Europe. It shows that survivors did not necessarily leave a great impression in office, but that they were generally characterised by a higher degree of organisational cohesion and rootedness than their less successful counterparts.