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2014 European Parliament Elections in Southern Europe : Still second-order or critical contests?
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Southern Europe has been the EU region most exposed to the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis with consequences for national party systems and political stability. The 2014 European Parliament elections took place at a crucial time for Europe and Southern European societies more generally. This book analyses the Euroelections in Southern Europe, asking whether these followed the usual pattern of low-stimulus contests or whether the crisis context raised the bar. Country chapters on Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Malta investigate the background of the elections, the electoral campaign and the rise of Euroscepticism. The linkage between governments’ economic performance, the Europhile or Eurosceptic stances of political parties, and their electoral performance are at the core of the analysis in each chapter. The findings reveal that the political and electoral consequences of the economic crisis have not fundamentally challenged the second-order character of the 2014 European Parliament elections in Southern Europe. However, electoral behaviour exhibits some indications of a more critical contest in which the EU divide becomes more significant and polarising in determining voting choices. This book was previously published as a special issue ofSouth European Society and Politics.