EUDEMOS: Constrained Democracy

EUDEMOS: Constrained Democracy: Citizens’ Responses to Limited Political Choice in the European Union

Funding: ERC Consolidator Grant (GA647835)

Postdoctoral fellows: Toni Rodon, Moritz Osnabruegge and Sebastian Barfort

Other co-authors: Julian Hoerner, Catherine De Vries, Hector Solaz, James Tilley


The EUDEMOS project examines the impact of political choice on citizens’ political behaviour and attitudes.  How is political choice changing in Europe? What are the implications for citizen mobilization, vote choices and satisfaction with democracy?

Political choice is crucial to democracy and lies at the heart of what distinguishes democratic systems from non-democratic ones. In most systems, political parties play a key role in offering choice to citizens: they organize politics and channel societal conflict into institutionalized patterns of political competition in ways that serve to reveal and aggregate voters’ preferences such that governments can represent its citizens. The extent to which a party system can provide a range of political choices to citizens that match their preferences has profound implications for the nature and quality of democracy.

The aim of EUDEMOS is to examine both how the nature of political choice has developed in Europe in the post-war period – with closer European integration, the rise of challenger parties, increasing fragmentation and polarization – and the consequences of changing political choice for voter mobilization, electoral choices and satisfaction with democracy.  We show that party systems are changing. Challenger parties are on the rise in Europe. Like disruptive entrepreneurs, these parties offer new policies and defy the dominance of established party brands. This has implications for the nature of choice offered by a system, which in turn has implications for citizen engagement with politics, their electoral choices and how satisfied they are with politics.



Hobolt, Sara B., and James Tilley. “Fleeing the centre: the rise of challenger parties in the aftermath of the euro crisis.” West European Politics, 39.5 (2016): 971-991

Rodon, Toni, and Marc Guinjoan. “When the context matters: Identity, secession and the spatial dimension in Catalonia.” Political Geography, Vol. 63 (2018): 75-87

Hobolt, Sara B. “Brexit and the 2017 UK general election.” Journal of Common Market Studies 56.S1 (2018): 39-50.

Hobolt, Sara B., and Julian M. Hoerner. “The mobilising effect of political choice.European Journal of Political Research 59.2 (2019): 229-247

Hoerner, Julian M., and Sara B. Hobolt. “Unity in diversity? Polarization, issue diversity and satisfaction with democracy.Journal of European Public Policy (2019): 1-20.

Hobolt, Sara B., and Toni Rodon. “Cross-cutting issues and electoral choice. EU issue voting in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum.” Journal of European Public Policy 27.2 (2020): 227-245.

Hobolt, Sara B. and Toni Rodon. “Domestic Contestation and European Integration.” Special Issue of Journal of European Public Policy 27.2 (2020): 227-245.


De Vries, Catherine and Sara B. Hobolt, Political Entrepreneurs. The Rise of Challenger parties in Europe. Princeton University Press, 2020

Blog Post:

Hoerner, Julian; Hobolt, Sara (2017) The AfD succeeded in the German election by mobilising non-voters on the right. LSE EUROPP blog