From Protest to Power: Autonomist parties in government

Anwen Elias, Filippo Tronconi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (SciVal)


In many Western European states, an increasing number of autonomist parties are taking part in government at state and regional levels. To date, however, scholars have paid little attention to the repercussions of government incumbency for these actors. This article aims to take a first step towards redressing this oversight. Based on an extensive literature examining political parties in government, we formulate hypotheses about how autonomist parties will approach, behave within and be affected by government office. We test these hypotheses by examining the participation of autonomist parties in regional and state governments in Western Europe since 1945. The findings demonstrate that the difficult decisions autonomist parties must make when entering government, the subsequent dilemmas and challenges that must be resolved once the threshold of government has been crossed, and the consequences of government incumbency, are similar to those faced by any political party in government. However, the fact that autonomist parties operate within a multi-level political context can render these challenges more complex than is the case for political parties operating (mainly or exclusively) at a single territorial level, usually that of the state. The article concludes by identifying key factors that affect the success of autonomist parties in government.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-524
Number of pages20
JournalParty Politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2011


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