This is a book about elections to the European Parliament, their failure to legitimate and control the exercise of power in the European Union, and the consequences of this failure for domestic politics in EU member states. It also sheds new light on why voters behave the way they do. The authors examine the 1989 Europe-wide elections with the aid of large-scale surveys fielded in all twelve member countries of the (then) European Community—placing European citizens within their institutional, political, economic, and social contexts. In particular, because three countries held national elections concurrently with the 1989 European elections, the study controls for the presence or absence of a national election context—permitting the authors to investigate electoral behavior in general, not just at European elections. Looking at such behavior while taking account of the strategic contexts within which elections are held has yielded new insights about turnout and party choice, while clarifying the crisis of legitimacy that faces the European Union. The more recent Europe-wide elections of 1994 are used to validate the findings.
This book will be of interest to political scientists interested in elections, the European Union, comparative politics, and political development.