Politics is about ideas. This chapter addresses the question of how congruent the policy ideas of party leaderships and candidates are. party-candidates’ congruence. The authors highlight a paradox faced by political parties. These may at the same time strive to maximise their vote share but also to ensure some kind of policy coherence within their party. The chapter stresses this potential antagonism between having “popular candidates” on the list, and party soldiers, who would be ideologically congruent with their party’s ideas. How to reconcile these two different principles that candidates as agents have to please? The study examines policy congruence from the parties’ perspective by scrutinising selection criteria for candidates, relying on the Belgian Candidates Survey and a party leadership survey.
This article investigates the role of war experiences on voters and veterans’ party choices in postwar elections. The literature has looked at the relation between military experience and electoral behaviour, and at the political consequences of war-related psychological distress, yet has never integrated the two. This article looks at the war experiences and specifically the development of war trauma on the likelihood of casting a vote for a nationalist party during a postwar election. Based on a 2003 survey of 1,000 Croatian voters, I find that veterans of Croatia’s war of independence are more likely to vote for nationalist parties. However, voters who showed signs of trauma were less likely to vote for these parties. In addition, veterans suffering from psychological trauma after the war were far less likely to vote for nationalist parties.