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Abstract

Kriesi et al. announced the birth of a new cleavage in contemporary Western Europe, one dividing the winners and losers of globalisation. Their studies in 2006 and 2008 contain analyses of party positions in six countries, based on the contents of editorial sections of newspapers. This article challenges the main conclusion of Kriesi et al. by demonstrating − on the basis of two expert surveys − that party positions are mainly structured by one dimension. The structure detected by Kriesi et al. in their analysis of parties is not found, except concerning voter positions. A consequence of this article's findings is that large groups of citizens are not represented by any parties, in particular those who are left-wing on socio-economic issues and right-wing on cultural issues. The article in its conclusion discusses possible causes for the differences between these findings and those of Kriesi et al., and the implications of these findings for democratic representation.