Inside the “secret garden” of candidate preselection
Danny Schindler: In den „geheimen Gärten“ der Vorauswahl. Variationen der Listenaufstellung von CDU und SPD zum 19. Deutschen Bundestag, in: Zeitschrift für Parlamentsfragen (ZParl), Vol. 51 (2020), Issue 1, pp. 26-48. (DOI: 10.5771/0340-1758-2020-1-26)
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.
The article is published in: ZParl, Vol. 51 (2020), Issue 1, pp. 26-48.