David Arter
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The historic strengths of the five main types of party
in Scandinavian politics today
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This chapter seeks to identify and explains the varying strengths of the main party types at the polls. It emphasises four prominent features. The first two are the electoral supremacy of social democracy in Denmark, Norway and most notably Sweden, and the strength and resilience of agrarianism in Finland. The next two are the strength of the radical left in Finland and Iceland, and the merger of liberalism and conservatism as a catch-all centre-right in Iceland. Viewed from a voter's perspective, during their 'frozen' period before 1970 the Scandinavian party systems exhibited three striking features: a high level of electoral stability; generally low levels of inter-bloc mobility; and, above all, the predominance of class-based voting. The Nordic party systems have traditionally been characterised by a number of non-socialist parties seeking to protect and promote their separate identities in a crowded electoral marketplace.

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