In Western democracies political representation at the national level is still dominated by (old and new) political parties. This article shows that, instead, the representative role of parties may have declined at the local level. In Italy, for instance, the average share of municipal seats held by non-partisan councillors has almost tripled in the last 20 years. By using an original data set, this article classifies different types of Italian local lists, assesses their relationship with traditional parties and explains territorial variation in their success. The results suggest that local lists have become substantially stronger in small municipalities, in regions characterised by weak or declining political subcultures and where regionalist parties are absent or irrelevant. Finally, contrary to the expectation that declining partisanship is linked to modernisation processes and direct civic engagement, local lists have achieved their best results in the less developed areas of the country.
Bibliographical note© 2016 Informa UK Limited, publishing as Taylor & Francis. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Local Government Studies, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/03003930.2016.1146137.
- Local list, local election, Italy, representation, partisanship, politicisation