Selbstbestimmung und Parteien in Südtirol: territoriale und europäische Parteistrategien zwischen Autonomie und Sezession
Since the final conflict settlement between Italy and Austria in 1992, ethnic politics in South Tyrol experienced insightful transformations. The consociational political system, which was implemented to tame centrifugal tendencies, has been losing its balance over the last decade, with pro-autonomy stances ceding ground to secessionist pressure in the German-speaking intra-ethnic arena. Adopting a contextual and strategic perspective on self-determination, this article traces the evolution of ethno-regionalist party strategies on the territorial and European dimension of party competition through a quantitative and qualitative content analysis of their electoral manifestos in the period between 1993 and 2013. In line with newest research on party strategies, the article empirically shows the strategic capacity of ethnic minority parties to challenge each other not only by shifting their positions on the different issue dimensions but also by the re-framing of issues. While the increasing competition on the center-periphery axis leads to a new territorial frame, the rise of secessionism is accompagned by an end to the pro-European elite consensus.