David Arter
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The ‘earthquake elections’ of 1970–73 and the emergence of new party types
in Scandinavian politics today
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The so-called 'earthquake elections', first in Finland and then in Denmark and Norway between 1970 and 1973, constituted a root-and-branch challenge to the unidimensional Scandinavian party system model and the old mould appeared irrevocably broken. This chapter presents essential background material and asks whether the ground-breaking elections of 1970-1973 created lasting fissures in the Scandinavian party systems and, if so, what new party types have emerged. The increase in legislative parties was not confined to the seismic early 1970s. The chapter concentrates on profiling four new 'party families' that since then have both institutionalised their position and lent the party political spectrum added 'dimensionality'. The eco-socialist parties and new radical rightist parties have been relatively easy to locate on a left-right continuum, whereas the placement of the Greens and new Christian parties, embodying post-materialist and anti-secularist values, respectively, has been more problematical.

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