How programmatic profiles of niche parties affect their electoral performance
Previous studies on the electoral performance of niche parties have not fully taken into account the evolutionary aspect of the programmatic profiles of these parties, although the majority of these parties were analysed from when they first came into existence, as new parties. Acknowledging the variation in programmatic profiles between niche parties and over time, the article argues that the electoral effects of nicheness and programmatic concentration as programmatic features of niche parties vary over their lifecycle. When entering the electoral arena, niche parties benefit from high levels of nicheness and programmatic concentration. However, these positive effects decrease as parties grow older and face different challenges to those of their early days. The empirical analysis of green and extreme right parties in this article supports the corresponding hypotheses. Results show that the positive effects of nicheness and programmatic concentration vanish over time and indicate niche parties’ own influence on their electoral destiny.