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Jae-Jae Spoon, "Holding Their Own: Explaining the Persistence of Green Parties in France and the UK," Party Politics, 15 (September 2009), 615-634.

First paragraph:
Green parties have become prominent actors across the European party landscape over the past two decades. They have had parliamentary representation in both national parliaments and in the European Parliament and have been part of governing coalitions in several countries, including France, Belgium, Finland and Ireland. To succeed, these parties have striven to carve out a policy niche for themselves, typically to the left of the Socialist or Social Democratic parties.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Issue position and salience for Green and Socialist parties
Appendix Table 1. United Kingdom 2005 - platforms compared
Appendix Table 2. France 2007 - platforms compared

Last Paragraph:
Finally, these findings not only have the theoretical implications discussed above, they also have important practical implications for the future of Green and other smaller niche parties in multiparty plurality systems. Perhaps staying on the policy fringes is what is holding these parties back from even more success in the case of the French Greens and of gaining a first seat in Westminster for the British Greens. But if these parties' positions converge on those of the mainstream party, would there then be a place for them in these party systems? The Greens thus find themselves in a Catch-22 situation. How the parties balance policy distinction with a desire to win more votes and seats will affect the longevity of the parties in these systems.

Last updated October 2009