This book investigates how liberal parties have evolved over time as a party family, in a comparative perspective. Through a discussion of the applicability of the concept of party family to liberal parties, it gives a better picture of the development, challenges, and opportunities for liberal parties in Europe.

The history of liberal parties in Europe is peculiar and the origins of the liberal family are not clearly defined. Liberal parties are still quite heterogeneous given the various meanings embraced in the idea of liberalism, including economic liberalism, cultural liberalism, progressivism, social-liberalism. Bringing together the best specialists engaged in the study of liberal parties, and with a two-levels perspective (comparative and case study), this book renews and expands our knowledge on the liberal party family in Europe. Four major themes are developed, linked to the four approaches of the concept of party family: electoral performances, participation to power, ideology and political program, and party organization. These themes are systematically developed in case studies, and in comparative chapters.

Primarily aimed at scholars and students in comparative politics, this book should especially appeal to scholars in the fields of political parties and party systems, representation and elections, voting behavior, and public opinion.

chapter |20 pages


ByCaroline Close, Emilie van Haute

part 21I|2 pages

Case studies

chapter 1|21 pages

The Norwegian Left and the Finnish Centre

What, no capital ‘L’ liberal parties?
ByDavid Arter

chapter 2|16 pages

The Danish Liberal Parties

ByKarina Kosiara-Pedersen

chapter 3|17 pages

The Centre Party and the Liberals

The Swedish members of the liberal party family?
ByNiklas Bolin

chapter 4|18 pages

Liberalism in the Netherlands

The VVD and D66
ByGerrit Voerman

chapter 5|18 pages

Belgian Liberals

Living apart together…
ByVivien Sierens

chapter 6|16 pages

Diversity, unity, and beyond

The Swiss liberals
ByOscar Mazzoleni

chapter 7|17 pages

Liberal parties in Austria

ByLaurenz Ennser-Jedenastik, Anita Bodlos

chapter 8|20 pages

It's (not only) the economy, stupid?

Past and future of the German Liberal Party
BySebastian U. Bukow

chapter 9|19 pages

The UK Liberal Democrats

Liberalism at a crossroads
ByAlan Wager, Tim Bale

chapter 10|20 pages

Fianna Fáil

In the Liberals but not of the Liberals
ByConor Little, David M. Farrell

chapter 11|20 pages

Nuanced liberalism

The weakness of liberal parties in Spain
ByLidia Núñez

chapter 12|16 pages

Liberal parties in Central and Eastern Europe

Between success and failure
ByBlagovesta Cholova, Jean-Michel De Waele

chapter 13|18 pages

Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia

ByDaunis Auers

chapter 14|20 pages

The Liberals in Europe

The alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
ByWouter Wolfs, Steven Van Hecke

part 279II|2 pages

Comparative perspective on liberal parties in Europe

chapter 15|29 pages

Liberal parties and elections

Electoral performances and voters’ profile
ByCaroline Close, Pascal Delwit

chapter 16|16 pages

Governmental participation and alliances of liberal parties in Europe

ByJohan Hellström, Daniel Walther

chapter 17|22 pages

The liberal party family ideology

Distinct, but diverse
ByCaroline Close

chapter 18|16 pages

How liberal parties organise

ByStefanie Beyens, Emilie van Haute, Tom Verthé

chapter |13 pages

Liberal parties in Europe: Conclusion

ByCaroline Close, Emilie van Haute