Making the absent present: Political parties and emigrant issues in country of origin parliaments

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Abstract

A growing number of countries have granted their emigrant citizens the right to vote in homeland elections from afar. Yet, there is little understanding of the extent to which emigration issues are visible in the subsequent legislative processes of policymaking and representation. Based on an original data set of parliamentary activities in Spain, Italy, France and Romania, this article analyses why political parties pay attention to emigrants. To that end, we propose a conceptual framework which draws on both theories of issue salience and substantive representation. Bridging these two frameworks allows us bring in both parties (salience) and constituencies (representation) in the analysis of the linkage between electorates and parliaments at a transnational level. We test a series of hypotheses and find that parties are more likely to focus on emigration issues the stronger their electoral incentives and in the context of electoral systems allowing the emigrants to elect special emigrant representatives.

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Østergaard-Nielsen, E., & Ciornei, I. (2019). Making the absent present: Political parties and emigrant issues in country of origin parliaments. Party Politics, 25(2), 153–166. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354068817697629

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