Abstracts 1/2020 englisch


Hellmann, Daniel and Benjamin Höhne: The formal dimension of candidate selection: party statutes in comparative perspective.
Party statutes stipulate their internal rules. Among other things they address how candidates are selected, who is allowed to nominate candidates, who is eligible to stand as a candidate and which voting procedures apply. For the 2017 Bundestag election, we studied the CDU, CSU, SPD, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, Die Linke, FDP and AfD statues. As a consequence of Germany’s comparatively rigid legal frame for candidate selection all parties show several similarities but we were also able to identify a few differences. These differences indicate differences in participation culture, e.g. how many members are allowed to nominate candidates, with smaller parties generally being more inclusive than bigger parties. AfD has the lowest grade of formal rules, which is owed to its relative short existence and therefore no need to institutionalize more formal rules. We also compared the aforementioned statues to the 2002 Bundestag election in longitudinal analysis and concluded remarkable continuity and with only little change. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 1, pp. 3 – 25]

Schindler, Danny: Inside the “secret garden” of candidate preselection. CDU and SPD varieties of party list nominations for the 19th German Bundestag.
Intra-party selection procedures that precede the conference to nominate a party list are substantively understudied. Yet, they are of utmost importance to explain and evaluate what happens at the formal selection events. This study investigates the pre-selection activities in the run-up to the 2017 Bundestag election in the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD). Drawing on participant observations as well as survey and interview data, it reveals that both parties use diverse multi-stage processes that in part predetermine the subsequent nomination results. Moreover, the party’s executive boards at state level can influence list nominations to varying degrees. In some cases, the formal selectorates clearly overestimate the leadership’s power. Although the selection procedures can be regarded as a sign of a vital intra-party democracy, parties should think about formalizing them in their statutes. The widespread informal decision making entails a lack of transparency even among party members and candidacy aspirants. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 1, pp. 26 – 48]

Hellmann, Daniel: The arduous path to mandate – but which one? An empirical analysis of the Ochsentour’s meaning.
The Ochsentour describes the slow, hard road to the top of political positions and is colloquially negatively associated. But despite this negative image, it remains unclear what actually constitutes this process of intraparty proving and how to interpret the metaphor of the arduous journey of the ox dragging the plough. A descriptive analysis based on the IParl survey shows that an aspirant’s nomination success depends on much more than the symptomatical duration of his or her party membership. These findings instead indicate that the development of a trusted relationship between candidate and party base is the key component of intraparty promotion. Overall the data suggests that aspirants are mostly flexible, show high levels of engagement and have proved themselves to their party base. Thus, the Ochsentour metaphor does not fit to the actual performance of candidature applicants. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 1, pp. 49 – 67]

Cordes, Malte and Daniel Hellmann: Who is the ideal candidate? Selection criteria in candidate selection for the German Bundestag.
Before an election takes place, the party members select their parliamentary candidates. Their nomination decisions depend on their vision of an ideal candidate. Based on the IParl survey of party members participating in the candidate selection for the 2017 German Bundestag elections we are able to investigate these preferences. As we see, there is neither a common ideal among all participants, nor are there any distinctly different groups. Differentiating between district and state level these variations are less distinct than between the different parties. We could also show that competitors seem to perceive demands from their electors at least partially different. Presumably, those aspirants who are better at anticipating their electors’ complex preferences might have better chances in the intraparty nomination process. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 1, pp. 68 – 83]

Kannenberg, Oliver: „We first look at ourselves“ – but for how much longer? Inter- party competition in the candidate selection for the German Bundestag 2017.
The rise of the right-wing populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has changed the German party landscape and challenged the other Bundestag parties. So far, this has not been paid attention to when looking at how parties fulfill their recruitment function, i.e. how they select candidates for elections. This study investigates whether and how the AfD has influenced their rivals’ nomination processes in 2017. By drawing on guided interviews with members of the selection bodies, strong inertial forces within the established parties in terms of the selection mode became obvious. Similarly, candidates for the Bundestag were largely chosen according to internal party criteria despite increased inter-party competition. Those results notwithstanding there are initial signs that voter-related selection criteria might be weighted stronger in the future. This could be due above all to declining membership figures, changing conditions for competition in the districts and enhanced polarization within the parties. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 1, pp. 84 – 104]

Höhne, Benjamin: More women in the German Bundestag? Descriptive representation and gender gap formation in parties.
Lately, the parliamentarian presence of women more and more has been a topic in public debates. These debates draw more on theoretical arguments instead of on empirical findings. How the gender gap between the German Bundestag’s composition and the population can be explained is analyzed on the basis of candidate selections in all seven Bundestag parties. A clear majority of all parties with the exception of the right-wing populist AfD show sensitivity to a fair gender presence. In three consecutive steps, the recruitment stages are examined, beginning with the shift from society to party and ending with the election of MPs. The problem of females being under-represented starts at an early stage, i.e. already with the share of female party members. In contrast, there are hardly any significant differences between the sexes in party participation. Considering the nomination decisions, positive discrimination against women, especially on state level lists, is more common than negative discrimination, especially in electoral districts. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 1, pp. 105 – 125]

Sturm, Roland: The triumph of conservative populism: The British general elections on December 12, 2019.
The early elections of December 2019 were held under special circumstances. The country was and still is divided politically and socially with regard to her future relationship with the EU. Brexit was one of the major election issues. Boris Johnson first won the support of his party and then of the country for a hard-line Brexit strategy. The election campaigns of the two leading parties were outright populist. The Conservative Party secured for herself a landslide victory, with the exception of Scotland and Northern Ireland. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 1, pp. 126 – 138]

Pfeiffer, Christian and Nikolaus Werz: The Spanish national elections on April 28 and November 10, 2019 and the political blockade.
After Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and his party PSOE were unable to pass the state budget for 2019 due to a continuing blockade in parliament, Sánchez called new elections for the end of April 2019. This was just another chapter in a blockade of Spanish politics that has paralyzed it for about five years and obviously has deeper institutional and cultural causes. This evidence was further underlined in the subsequent negotiations on forming a government, which failed once again. Therefore, the fourth national elections within four years had to be held on November 10, 2019. This article aims to show some of the reasons for this blockade. This search for clues is embedded in an analysis of the national elections on April 28 and November 10, 2019. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 1, pp. 139 – 165]

Lemmer, Daniel: The Spanish party system from 1977 to 2019. Change or transformation?
This article investigates if a party system change has taken place in Spain from June 1977 to January 2019. The operationalization of Smith’s (1989) definition of party system change requires the distinction between “normal” and “unusual” values of the indicators, which are subject to constant fluctuations. This distinction was achieved by defining unusual values as values that fall outside the area of plus/minus one standard deviation around the mean of the respective indicator. If an indicator’s values are unusual several times in a row, Smith considered it to have undergone change. The distinction between limited and general change as well as a party system transformation depends on how many indicators measure the properties of different party groups that undergo change. The results show that the Spanish party system underwent a series of limited changes from 1977 to 2015. Despite the following massive shifts in the distribution of seats and the increases in format, this period can only be qualified as one of (weak) general change, but not of party system transformation. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 1, pp. 166 – 188]

Schüttemeyer, Suzanne S. and Anastasia Pyschny: Candidate selection for the 19th German Bundestag. Research on the personal and participatory basis of democracy. The political parties represented in the Bundestag have about 300.000 active members, from whom all elected officials, from local councils to the European Parliament, are recruited . Due to the ongoing membership decline in parties the pool of eligible candidates is also reduced. In spite of this worrying development and the outstanding importance of the parties’ recruitment function for the stability and functioning of the political system, for the last five decades the candidate selection processes for the German Bundestag have neither been analyzed extensively nor systematically. Hence, the Institute of Parliamentary Research (IParl) addressed this research gap and studied the candidate selection before the German parliamentary elections of 2017 by asking who selects whom in which way and for what reasons in the constituency or for the party lists as candidate for the German Bundestag. The results underline the worrying situation: Not only the personal but also the participatory basis of democracy has been shrinking over time. Although the parties hold membership conventions more often, in 15 years the participation of the electorate from CDU, CSU and SPD declined by 46 percent. Thus, inclusive participation offers are not a universal remedy. Rather, the parties have to make sure that such offers are really used comprehensively. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 1, pp. 189 – 211]

Reichart-Dreyer, Ingrid: Is the membership loss of parties really irreversible? Reflections on the capability of parties to recruit and represent.
Parties link the society with the state. It is their task to recruit members, integrate and train them for taking over leadership positions at different levels. Since 1990 the parties in (unified) Germany lose members. Does this prevent them from fulfilling their functions for the parliamentary democracy? The analysis detects differences between the Länder: Indeed, the capability of parties to recruit members increases with the number of officeholders in local and regional councils and state parliaments. Big cities and the so-called city-states (Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen) reduce the chances for political participation. Where the organisational structure of public administration was reformed the number of local and regional councillors sank and – with some delay – also the number of party members. Are the remarkable differences in the capability of the parties to recruit members a reflection of their internal organisation? Do the structures that are formally laid down in the party statutes influence how opinions are formed and majorities are found? How does the linkage between officeholders and their party – which is necessary for political leadership – work? Do the parties communicate to the people why it pays to get engaged? The differences found between the parties indicate how the capacity for recruiting members can be improved. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 1, pp. 212 – 231]

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