Candidate selection for the 19th German Bundestag

by OK

Suzanne S. Schüttemeyer und Anastasia Pyschny: Kandidatenaufstellung zur Bundestagswahl 2017. Untersuchungen zu personellen und partizipatorischen Grundlagen demokratischer Ordnung, in: Zeitschrift für Parlamentsfragen (ZParl), Vol. 51 (2020), Issue 1, pp. 189-211. (DOI: 10.5771/0340-1758-2020-1-189)

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.

The article is published in: ZParl, Vol. 51 (2020), Issue 1, pp. 189-211.

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