The comparative analysis of ethnoregionalist parties as a specific party type has until now attracted little scholarly attention. This is partly due to the neglect of European political party research, which, afflicted with a ‘professional handicap’ (Weiner 1992:317), often looked upon ethnicity in modern societies as ‘vestigial phenomena’ (Esman, 1977:371). In addition, European political party studies have been widely influenced by a static interpretation of the ‘freezing’ of party systems around settled cleavages of region, class and religious denomination. Thus one of the crucial lessons of party research, namely that ‘parties themselves might establish themselves as significant poles of attraction and produce their own alignments independently of the geographical, the social and the cultural underpinnings of the movements’ (Lipset and Rokkan 1967:3), almost fell into oblivion.