Explaining the salience of secessionist party constitutional demands for independence

Elin Royles*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Demands for independence have increased across Europe in the last decade, but there are limits to our understanding of what makes secessionist parties more ambiguous or assertive on independence. This article’s original contribution to the literature on regionalist parties in Western Europe is in addressing gaps in understanding of secessionist party strategy. Consequently, its original theoretical contribution is to enrich analysis of secessionist party strategic calculations. It achieves this by advancing analysis of key factors influencing pro-independence parties’ emphasis on their secession claims by modifying a framework of internal and external factors developed by Elias and Mees (2017). It deepens assessment of state-wide impacts on the salience of pro-independence demands, including incumbent central government parties and secessionist parties in other parts of the state. Empirically, the article evaluates the framework’s strengths by examining the case of Plaid Cymru, Wales 2003–2021 drawing on a new dataset and qualitative research.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalRegional and Federal Studies
Early online date02 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 02 Aug 2023


  • Regionalist parties
  • salience
  • secession
  • territorial demands
  • Wales


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