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The role of political communication in European Parliament elections analysis

This study is providing conclusions, based on argumentation analysis of political communi-cation, on how the current analytical approach in political science can be modified regar-ding the analysis of the European Parliament (EP) elections.

The paper is focusing on the character of the political communication during the EP-elections in Sweden in 2014 in order to explore if the political communication was more relevant for EU- or national level issues.

The starting point of the paper is the contemporary critique of the second order elections theory and its analytical model developed by scholars Reif and Schmitt in 1980. According to Reif and Schmitt the EP-elections are regarded as electoral process of the second order importance and where the political communication is highly based on political communication relevant for national level issues rather than EU-level ones. The critique of this original approach is based on arguments that EP-electoral process needs to be understood on its own terms and not to be regarded as electoral process of secondary importance or a second-order national elections.

The case of latest EP-election in Sweden offers results which are partly confirming the original assumptions. The study contains the analysis of the five main political issues in accordance with the voting population which were environment and energy, labour market, immigration and integration, EU and international issues, and democracy and rights. The result of the study is based on a qualitative argumentation analysis of the political commu-nication.

The conclusions of the paper are based on results of the study of electoral manifestos with the overall result stating that the political communication was relevant for EU-level issues. The study of the EP-elections in Sweden and political communication within electoral manifestos of the main national political parties confirms contemporary critique of Reif and Schmitt theory. The adding of the political communication aspect would make the current model more applicable for the analysis of the future EP-elections.

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