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Bringing the members back in? Democratizing candidate selection in Britain and Spain

Hopkin, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0002-3187-4013 (2001) Bringing the members back in? Democratizing candidate selection in Britain and Spain. Party Politics, 7 (3). pp. 343-361. ISSN 1460-3683

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Identification Number: 10.1177/1354068801007003005


Primary elections and membership ballots are becoming more common as a means of selecting candidates in European parties. This article assesses the likely implications of these changes for party cohesion by examining the American experience of primaries and contrasting US candidate selection with the membership ballots and primaries recently adopted by parties in the UK and Spain. It is argued that, in the absence of state regulation of candidate selection in European parties, these changes are unlikely to undermine party organizations as primaries have in the US. Instead, the European experience suggests that party leaders have been able to retain ultimate control over candidate selection, and that the democratization of the process has been more formal than real.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: Published 2001 © SAGE Publications. LSE has developed LSE Research Online so that users may access research output of the School. Copyright and Moral Rights for the papers on this site are retained by the individual authors and/or other copyright owners. Users may download and/or print one copy of any article(s) in LSE Research Online to facilitate their private study or for non-commercial research. You may not engage in further distribution of the material or use it for any profit-making activities or any commercial gain. You may freely distribute the URL (<>) of the LSE Research Online website.
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2006
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 23:57

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