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Project: Opposition parties in Europe under pressure. Far from power, close to citizens?

Funding Source: Exploratory project IF/00926/2015

Participant Institutions: IPRI-NOVA

Timeframe: 1 December 2016 - 30 November 2021

Abstract: The objective of this research project is to investigate the behaviour of the opposition parties in parliament in normal and hard times. Now more than ever, parliamentary opposition deserves renewed attention given the substantial changes in European politics, notably in two main dimensions: one related to the party transformation, the other one to the outbreak of the global financial crisis. How have these dynamics affected, or even changed, the role and behaviour of the opposition actors in European legislatures?

The project will focus on the Portuguese case and, at the same time, extend the comparative analysis to other empirical cases from Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. An extensive programme of empirical research has been set, involving European scholars (from 11 countries) who are part of a research network I have been coordinating since 2012, together with Prof. Gabriella Ilonszki (Corvinus University of Budapest). The project has both interpretative and theoretical objectives. It will seek to understand the extent to which the transformations occurring at national and supranational level are changing the role and concrete behaviour of the opposition actors in national legislative arenas. Additionally, as the study of opposition falls into the broader issue of how democracy works, understanding how opposition has developed over the years will shed light on the changes and evolution in representative democracy.

At such a critical moment for European politics due both to economic hardships and a crisis of accountability and representation, the study of old and new opposition actors that are far from power but recently considered closer to citizens, will have a strong impact on the academic world as well as society.

Members of the Team:

Elisabetta de Giorgi

fct       fcsh        bcp       

edp        edp        ribei