Observatory on Political Parties and Representation


The Observatory on Political Parties and Representation (OPPR) is devoted to the study of European parties and representative channels, agenda setters and gatekeepers on the possible road towards a full-fledged and effective Euro-party system. It was co-founded by  Prof. Peter Mair † and Prof. Luciano Bardi, and its activities are organised by Dr. Lorenzo Cicchi


OPPR research focuses on all the various dimensions of political representation in Europe: from the internal organization of Euro-parties to the ideological coherence of their components, from the selection of candidates to run for European elections to party financing and party patronage. Several academic collaborators, both internal and external to the EUI, are involved in our activities. This is transforming OPPR into a hub of collaborative and innovative scholarship in the EU party politics, with a growing exchange between senior and junior scholars from different countries.


Selected publications


EUFOUND2014 Report on Political Parties and Political Foundations at European Level

This report is based on a follow-up study on “How to create a transnational party system”. Four years after the original study, this updated, revised and extended Report provides policy-makers with a thorough understanding of both long-term and recent challenges or opportunities regarding the emergence of transnational parties and a transnational party system at the European Union (EU) level and, ultimately, of the constraints and opportunities for representative democracy in the EU. The Report focuses on the following aspects: (a) the policy positions and coherence of the EP Party Groups after the Euro-crisis; (b) the regulation and funding of political parties at European level (PPELs); (c) the role of political foundations at European level (PFELs). More specifically, the report ascertains the continued ability of EP Party Groups to respond cohesively to the challenges posed by the current economic crisis. The report further assesses the opportunities and incentives provided by the current and proposed legislation on political parties at the EU level for the development of a transnational party system, but also the remaining obstacles still to be faced. Finally, it provides an assessment of the institutionalization of PFELs as organizations created for the promotion of democracy at EU level and for the support of their related PPELs through activities aimed at improving the linkage with EU citizens.The report can be accessed here.



OPPR Report

2009 Report on How to Create a Transnational Party System  

In November 2009, the OPPR won a tender of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs of the European Parliament for writing a report on "How to Create a Transnational European Party System". The Report, written in the first half of 2010  by four OPPR researchers under the direction of Professor Bardi and Professor Mair, analyses the factors that could affect the development of a full-fledged party system at EU level. The report has been published by the European Parliament, and can be accessed here.

See the full list of OPPR publications here










Useful resources

parlgov1ParlGov is a project directed by Holger Döring and by Philip Manow of the University of Bremen - Centre per Social Policy Research (ZeS).  Its data infrastructure contains data on elections and governments for all EU and most OECD members from 1945 until today. The database, which is constantly updated and is now mirrored in the EUDO Datacentre, combines approximately 1300 parties, 630 elections (5200 results), and 870 governments (2100 cabinet parties).



votewatchVotewatch.eu is an independent website developed by the London School of Economics and the Université Libre de Bruxelles. It provides an user-friendly access to, and analysis of, the political decisions and activities of the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and of the EU Council of Ministers. Votewatch uses the European Parliament's own attendance, voting and activity data to give a full overview of MEP activities, broken down by nationality, national political party and European party grouping. The website covers the Parliament's activities during the entire 2004-2009 term and, starting with the 2009-2014 term, it is constantly updated following each voting session in the plenary.



EPERNEPERN (acronym for 'European Parties Elections and Referendums Network') is a network of scholars researching the impact of European integration on parties, elections and public opinion. Set up in August 2003, the network boasts a membership of more than 100 scholars and researchers across Europe and the US. EPERN  publishes an ongoing series of briefings on national elections and on European Parliament elections, as well as a series of vbriefings on national referendums concerning  EU membership and Treaty reforms.



PartylawParty Law in Modern Europe is an important resource for research on the legal regulation of political parties in post-war European democracies. The webssite contains a database of party laws, regulations and constitutional provisions concerning the organization political parties in Europe and beyond. Moreover, the website contains information, updates and publications related to the two main branches of the project: The Constitutional Regulation of Political Parties in Post-War Europe, funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and hosted by the Department of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) at the University of Birmingham, and Re-conceptualizing Party Democracy, funded by the European Research Council (ERC) and hosted by the Institute for Political Science at Leiden University.



KatzMairKatz-Mair Party Organizational Data are the data-set in the form of Excel and PDF files from the volume Party Organizations: A Data Handbook on Party Organizations in Western Democracies, 1960-90, edited by Richard S Katz and Peter Mair, and originally published by Sage (London) in 1992. The data cover various aspects of party organizational development from the 1960s through to the end of the 1980s, including for each party in each country (and for the European Community party federations, where relevant) the membership levels; the qualifications, obligations, and rights of membership; the number of basic units or branches; number of paid employees; the organization of the national executive and national congress; the membership and function of these bodies; rules about candidate selection and gender representation; party finance, including sources of income and target of expenditure, as well as the rules regarding public subventions to parties. The data are reproduced here on a non-exclusive basis as a still relevant resource for comparative party research, and as a way of encouraging scholars in the field to contribute to the eventual extension and updating of the figures. The countries included in the original data set, with the original authors of the data collection and analysis also indicated, are Austria (Wolfgang C. Müller); Belgium (Kris Deschouwer); Denmark (Lars Bille); Finland (Jan Sundberg and Christel Gyllig); Germany (Thomas Poguntke and Bernhard Boll); Ireland (David M. Farrell); Italy (Luciano Bardi and Leonardo Morlino); The Netherlands (Ruud Koole and Hella van der Velde); Norway (Lars Sv?sand); Sweden (Jon Pierre and Anders Widfeldt); United Kingdom (Paul D. Webb). At a later stage we also hope to add the data for the United States (Robin Kolodny and Richard S. Katz) and for the Transnational Federations in the European Community (Luciano Bardi), both cases having been included in the original volume. OPPR and EUDO are grateful to Ken Janda for his work in preparing these data in this format.


A list of additional external resources is available here

Contact: for inquiries please contact [email protected]

Latest News
OPPR's coordinator Lorenzo Cicchi published a new book

OPPR's coordinator Lorenzo Cicchi published a new book

Is euro-voting truly supranational? National affiliation and political group membership in European Parliament
'Pathways to Power' research project:  presentation of preliminary findings

'Pathways to Power' research project: presentation of preliminary findings

15 February, 2016 - Institute for Government, London



Page last updated on 23 August 2017