The 2014 and 2019 European Parliament Elections

the growth of the eurosectic right and opposition voting in second-order elections



European Parliament, second-order elections, Eurosceptic right-wing parties


Elections to the European Parliament (EP) are considered
by several authors as second-order elections. This is due to the low voter
turnout, the better performance of opposition and/or radical parties
compared to first-order national elections, the dynamics of “opposition
voting” and “sincere voting”, among other aspects. The growth of Eurosceptic
parties in the 2014 elections, especially on the right side of the
political spectrum, as well as the increase in the turnout in the 2019 elections,
brought this discussion back to the fore, in which certain authors
reaffirm the persistence of this second-order character, while others relativize
it. Based on a literature review focused on the EP case, this paper
aims, firstly, to present this debate, identifying different explanations for
the rise of the Eurosceptic right in 2014 and for the increase in turnout
in 2019, correlating this debate with readings on Euroscepticism and far
right. Secondly, it was verified whether the logic of the opposition vote,
one of the main assumptions of the theory, was present in the 2014 and
2019 elections regarding the right-wing Eurosceptic parties. It was found
that, among the 56 cases analysed in the two elections, 26 fit the dynamics
predicted by the opposition vote, while another nine cases also
fit the dynamics predicted by other assumptions of the theory. It is noteworthy
that some right-wing Eurosceptic parties, especially the more
radical ones, tend to be small and/or opposition parties, which usually
perform better in second-order elections.