David Arter
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Party system change since 1970
in Scandinavian politics today
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This chapter focuses on the extent of party system change since the 'earthquake elections' of 1970-1973. In considering the extent of change, it seems useful to separate out three analytically distinct elements of party systems, their size, structure and dynamics. Social structural change has undercut the relative size of the Social Democrats' 'natural' electoral constituency. If changes in the size of the Scandinavian party systems are assessed in relation to the vote share of the three 'pole parties', the Social Democrats, the Agrarians/Centre and the Conservatives, there has been a mixture of 'core persistence' and change. Whilst from an electoral standpoint the Scandinavian party systems have exhibited heightened dimensionality, the structure of the legislative party systems has been predominantly unidimensional. The changing dynamics of the legislative party system involves focusing on three things, the interaction of the parliamentary parties, the nature of legislative majority-building and the structure of party competition.

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