Coalition or Opposition? The Behaviour of Regionalist Parties in Multi-level Competition: The Cases of the Basque Country and Scotland
This article compares the positioning behaviour of parties and reveals why one party joins a coalition, while others do not. The cases of two regionalist parties of the UK and Spain are depicted: the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Basque National Party (BNP). The study is a con-tribution to the problems of positioning behaviour of parties in decentralised systems with strong regionalist elements and incentives of regionalist parties (RPs) to enter a coalition with state-wide parties (SWPs). Based on process tracing and comparative analysis of the main regionalist parties, electoral data, public statements, and media statements we conclude that the ideological proxi mity on the economic dimension of the parties, and the territorial dimension are of key importance in evaluating the coalition potential between SWPs and the RPs. Moreover, competition at the regional level creates incentives for RPs to enter a coalition with SWPs and there is no evident support for the minority government to be disposed to enter a coalition rather than a majority gov-ernment.