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Left-right voting in 10th Saeima and Riigikogu elections in 2011

Author(s): Vikmane E. | Kreituse I.

Journal: SHS Web of Conferences
ISSN 2261-2424

Volume: 2;
Start page: 00038;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: voting | election choice | left-right continuum | Latvia | Estonia

Distribution of parties along ideological continuum historically has been the issue of governmental accountability, has served as a competition platform and communication code between political candidates and potential voters. Debate on the framework of the left-right continuum and its impact on voting behaviour are still ongoing in the Western countries, generally recognising the split as such, and rather debating its changing nature. The aim of the paper is to highlight the left-right continuum as a meaningful notion in the research of electoral behaviour both in Latvia and Estonia according to the thesis that voters in general tend to choose a party in elections which corresponds (or lies closest) to their self-placement in the left-right continuum (Downs, 1957); and the Laponce’s thesis concerning the left-right continuum as the “political Esperanto” – a language allowing parties and voters to understand each other (Laponce, 1981). Results of this research show that although the opinion of the parties themselves and experts concerning placement of the parties along the left-right scale coincides, the left-right continuum does not serve as the “political Esperanto” between the parties and voters. Still the idea of voting for the party, which is closest to one’s own opinion, is particularly well pronounced in Latvia.
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