Democratizing candidate selection: Causes and consequences

Paul Pennings*, Reuven Y. Hazan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


This special issue offers an up-to-date overview of the democratization of candidate selection, while giving attention to causes and cases from both past and present. The focus is on the consequences of internal democratization for the overall functioning of political parties. The contributions show that there are many forms of democratizing candidate selection. These differences mainly concern the inclusiveness of the selectorate that controls the candidate selection process and the degree of centralization of the selection methods, of which the role and composition of the selectorate are the most vital and defining criteria. The types of consequences and their impact on the functioning of parties are not univocal because there are different degrees of democratization. The empirical evidence presented by the contributions shows that moderate forms of democratization can have beneficial effects on party organizations - such as higher levels of membership participation - but that this effect is not certain. Radical forms, on the other hand, are more likely to distort party cohesiveness, and consequently weaken the quality of representative democracy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)267-275
Number of pages9
JournalParty Politics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Candidate selection
  • Intra-party democracy
  • Party organization
  • Primaries


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