//The Elects Glossary
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The Elects Glossary

Introduction

The teams of Europe Elects, Asia Elects, America Elects, Oceania Elects, and Africa Elects created this glossary to define terms we use in our reporting. It is an attempt to standardize the language on election-reporting across the globe to avoid misunderstandings. The definitions here are not exhaustive. It is impossible to give here a definition that fits all parties. Instead, the following is an attempt to give the reader an understanding of what we – generally speaking – mean if we (do not) use the following terms. In this context, it is also important to note that not all parties mentioned as examples fall entirely into one of the categories. The US Democrats, for example, are not purely centre-left, but also host members with centre-right, liberal, and left-wing values.

Authoritarian

Authoritarian (for example “authoritarian left” or “authoritarian right”) refers to political parties that do not favour liberal democracy, but their remaining ideology is not inherently anti-democratic. PSUV in Venezuela, for example, fits the left-wing category below but opposes or violates democratic principles. In the case of PSUV, for example, the party would be described as “left authoritarian”.

Centre-left

Centre-left in the Elects context refers to social democratic and socialist political parties that want to mitigate some effects of capitalism, such as the exploitation of resources and workers, by selective government interventions in the economy. Centre-left political parties are in most cases socially liberal, meaning they advocate for women’s reproductive rights, LGBTI+ rights, multiculturalism, and a separation of state and religion. On the economic side, centre-left political parties favour state interventions in several areas of the economy, for example, the provision of public health care or free primary, secondary and tertiary education. In Europe, centre-left political parties are generally affiliated with the S&D Group in the EU Parliament. 

Examples: US Democratic Party, Indian National Congress, Labour (UK)

Transnational organizations: S&D Group in the EU Parliament, PES in Europe, Progressive Alliance, Socialist International, Foro de São Paulo, Former Liberation Movements of Southern Africa

Centre-right

We are working on a description.

Centrist

We are working on a description.

Eurofederalist

Eurofederalist political parties in the Elects context want to increase the political powers of regions at the European level, arguing that the national governments hold too much power blocking necessary reforms based on their own national interest.

Examples: Volt Deutschland

Transnational Organizations: Volt Europa

Far-left


Far-left (also left-wing extremist, Communist)political parties in the Elects context oppose, based on their interpretation of Karl Marx’s philosophy, neoliberal capitalism and liberal democracy. They often share the support for abolishing religious structures and favour a total state control over the economy, which includes the opposition to the concept of private ownership.

Examples: Communist Party of China, Community Party of Vietnam, Workers’ Party of Korea (North Korea)

Transnational Organizations: International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties

Far-right

Far-right (also fascism, right-wing extremism or nazism): Far-right parties in the Elects context refers to parties that believe one ethnicity is more valuable than others based on genetic differences. To achieve their political goals they also engage in direct or structural violence directed against political opponents and other races. Far-right parties hold socially conservative values, which include that they want to regulate the freedom of women to abort even at the beginning of a pregnancy or multiculturalism. They fiercely oppose same-sex relationships. Far-right parties have differing attitudes towards the economy, but oppose to expand democratic control of workers over the economy.

Examples: MHP Turkey, Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, Partido Renovador Trabalhista Brasileiro (Brazil), XA (Greece)

Transnational Organizations: 

Green

Green (sometimes: environmentalist) in the Elects context refers to environmentalist political parties that want to mitigate some effects of capitalism, such as the over-exploitation of natural resources by selected government interventions in the economy. Green political parties are socially liberal, which means that they advocate for women’s reproductive rights, LGBTI+ rights, multiculturalism, and a separation of state and religion. On the economic side, Green political parties favour interventions of the state into the economy in several areas, for example, the provision of public health care or free primary, secondary and tertiary education. In Europe, Green political parties are generally affiliated with the Greens/EFA Group in the EU Parliament.

Examples: Partido Verde (Brazil), Green Party of the United States, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (Germany)

Transnational affiliations: Greens/EFA, European Green Party, Global Greens, Federation of the Green Parties of the Americas

Left-wing

Left-wing in the Elects context refers to democratic socialist political parties. Left-wing political parties are generally socially liberal, meaning they advocate for women’s reproductive rights, LGBTI+ rights, multiculturalism, and a separation of state and religion. On the economic side, left-wing political parties favour interventions of the state in the economy several areas, for example, the free provision of public health care or free primary, secondary and tertiary education. Many left-wing parties support democratically elected governments taking control over banks and public transport, emphasizing the disadvantages of a privatized economy. In the long-run, left-wing political parties want to expand democratic control of workers over the economy. In Europe, left-wing political parties are generally affiliated with the GUE/NGL Group in the EU Parliament. Left-wing parties are skeptical of immigration when they believe local labour standards are lowered by immigrants not covered by national labour laws. 

Examples: La France Insoumise, Podemos, DIE LINKE (Germany), Partido dos Trabalhadores Brazil

Transnational organizations: GUE/NGL Group in the EU Parliament, Foro de São Paulo

Liberal

Liberal in the Elects context refers to liberal political parties that want to foster private sector control over the economy, keeping health, social care and education at least partially open to the private sector. Liberals believe that the economy largely functions without government intervention, sometimes limited by some regulations on oligarchic businesses. This also extends to the labour market where liberals favour labour market flexibilization, deregulation, and low taxes. Liberal parties are socially liberal, meaning they support the freedom of international migration, same-sex marriages, and advocate the further separation of power between religion and state. In Europe, liberal political parties are generally affiliated with the RE Group in the EU Parliament.

Examples: La Republique en Marche (France), Democratic Progressive Party (Taiwan), UK Liberal Democrats

Transnational affiliations: Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats, ALDE Europe, RE Group in the EU Parliament, Liberal International, Arab Liberal Federation

National-conservative

National-conservative (sometimes: conservative) parties in the Elects context refers to parties that generally favour that private enterprises control the economy rather than the government. National-conservative parties often hold socially conservative values, including regulating the freedom of women to abort even at the beginning of a pregnancy. They generally favour heterosexual marriages as opposed to same-sex marriages and do not oppose formal or informal ties between religious entities and the state. In foreign policy, national-conservative parties favour that political power remains in the hands of the central government, rather than in supranational, regional, or local administrations. They generally favour private-sector innovation and development over state regulation, if it comes to climate change or social equality. National-conservatives are often skeptical about immigration, especially if the immigrants come from contexts that are perceived as culturally (i.e. language, religion…) different from the receiving community. 

Examples: Bharatiya Janata Party India, US Republican Party, Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (Brazil), PiS (Poland)

Transnational organizations: Asia Pacific Democrat Union, ECR Party, ECR Group in the EU Parliament

Religious Fundamentalist

We are working on a description.

Regionalist

Regionalist political parties in the Elects context want to increase the political power of a certain region or nation in opposition to the national government. They may also (claim to) advocate for the rights of a particular linguistic or ethnic group in a state.

Examples: SNP (Scotland in the United Kingdom), JxCAT (Catalonia in Spain), Bayernpartei (Bavaria in Germany), WARISAN (Malaysia)

Transnational organizations: EFA EU-Party

Right-wing

Right-wing political parties in the Elects context refers to parties that are positioned strongly against multiculturalism. Hence, they generally oppose immigration from one culture into another. Right-wing political parties in the Elects context generally favour heterosexual marriages as opposed to same-sex marriages – with some notable exceptions in Western Europe. In foreign policy, right-wing parties favour that political power remains in the hands of the central government, rather than in supranational, regional, or local administrations. In Europe, right-wing political parties are generally affiliated with the ID Group in the EU Parliament. The economic policies of the right are diverse but are generally against governments taking control over banks and public transport, emphasizing the disadvantages of government interference and high taxes for the economy.

Examples: United Russia, LEGA Italy, Rassemblement National France

Transnational organizations: Identity and Democracy in Europe

Some terms are explicitly avoided in our reporting

… and we try to explain why in the following:

Administration
Ambiguous terminology: UK-centric term for subnational governments, US-centric term for the national government

Assembly
Alternatively: Parliament; clearer to different linguistic backgrounds and different educational levels

Big tent
We attempt to label our parties with ideological labels rather than with descriptions about their (perceived) size or (perceived) inclusion towards different groups in the society.

Country
Ambiguous terminology: subnational level in the UK, dependent or independent state.

Eurosceptic, pro-EU, or anti-EU
Ambiguous terminology. “anti-EU” is a term only used in cases where the party intends to abolish the European Union. Most ID or GUE/NGL parties are generally referred to as “anti-EU” or “Eurosceptic”. This suggests that they intend to abolish the European Union, which is not reflected in their manifestos. To avoid this confusion, we avoid this wording in most contexts.

Fascist
Sub-section of: “far-right”

Federal Election
Alternatively: “national parliament election (in federal states).

General Election
Ambiguous terminology: “National parliament election“, “Presidential election” election is more descriptive and clearer to different linguistic backgrounds and different educational levels)

Nation
Ambiguous terminology: It can be interpreted as a “nation-state” (like Norway); the nation as a group of people with a common language and culture (like the Scottish nation).

Nationalist
Ambiguous terminology: can be interpreted as progressive-separatist (for example in the Scottish context) or as far-right (for example in the German context).

Nazi(sm)
Sub-section of: “far-right”

Populism
Ambiguous terminology which does not add to the ideological descriptions we use.

pro-EU
Ambiguous terminology.

Technocrat
Tautology: The term suggests that there is an “expert or non-ideological” approach to policy areas. We at Europe Elects believe that there is always ideology in an approach to policy. The philosophical assumption that there is no politics that is without ideology.

Union
Ambiguous terminology: Can be interpreted as the “European Union, ” “United Kingdom,” or the German political alliance of CDU and CSU).

-, ~, +, and →

In the European context, these signs show up regularly in our publications. But what do they mean?

– 

“-” indicates that there is a direct affiliation between the EU Parliament group and the national party mentioned. “Direct” means that the national party is either a member of the EU Parliament group or a member in one of the Europarties that are officially affiliated with the EU Parliament group. If – exists, ~ and † and are ignored.

+

“+” Indicates that a national party is active in one of the EU member states and has expressed its intention to join the EU Parliament group in the future and the EU Parliament group has already approved that step. 

~ 

“~” indicates that there is an indirect affiliation to the EU Parliament group. The national party is not a member of the EU Parliament group. Instead, the national party is a member of an international organization that also hosts several national parties of an EU Parliament group. These can be:

Socialist International, Progressive Alliance: S&D
International Democratic Union, Centrist Democrat International: EPP
Global Greens, Pirate Parties International:: Greens/EFA (G/EFA)
Fourth International, Committee for a Workers’ International, International Alliance of Libertarian Parties, International Meeting of Communist and Workers People: Non-Inscrit (NI)
International Democrat Union with affiliation to a regional national-conservative network that includes the UK Conservatives or the US: ECR
Liberal International: RE

It can also be a PACE Group which usually has equivalents in the EU Parliament. If there is an official or regular cooperation a completely unaffiliated party and a party that is affiliated through international networks, we expand the affiliation to the unaffiliated party. If ~ exists, † is ignored.

→ 

” indicates that the national party is active in one of the EU member states and has expressed its intention to join the EU Parliament group in the future. It does not mean that the EU Parliament has approved the request. If  exists, ~ and † are ignored.

” † ” indicates that the national party is currently officially unaffiliated but used to be part of an EU Parliament Group that has not explicitly expelled the party. It is also just used for national parties active in EU member states. The party is not a member of a Europarty.



Tobias Gerhard Schminke (@TobiasSchminke) leads Europe Elects. He founded Europe Elects in May 2014, and until September 2017 ran the account on his own. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communication Science with a Political Science minor at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, and Haifa University, Israel. He is currently working towards his Master of Arts in International Development Studies in Halifax, Canada.