No Need for Wider Selectorates? Party Members’ Preferences for Reforming the Nomination of District and List Candidates for the German Bundestag
Danny Schindler and Benjamin Höhne: No Need for Wider Selectorates? Party Members' Preferences for Reforming the Nomination of District and List Candidates for the German Bundestag, in PVS (Politische Vierteljahresschrift) Special Issue, 2020, pp. 283-308. (DOI: 10.1007/978-3-658-28988-1_10)
While there is plenty of research investigating the methods for choosing parliamentary candidates and their consequences, only a few studies have explored the preferences of party members for various selection modes. This article focuses on those party members actively involved in candidate nominations, separated in leaders, delegates and rank-and-file. As it is well known, party activities are pivotal when it comes to procedural reforms. Our data base is a representative survey in the run-up of the 2017 national election within all current Bundestag parties that includes selections at the district level and for party lists. The data show that there is very limited reform support for open primaries. Moreover, party members frequently opt for the procedures with which they are long familiar. Evidence for assumptions that party elites prefer inclusive procedures to circumvent mid-level activists could not be found. Looking at context factors, general meetings are more strongly supported in competitive settings. Regarding list selections, a strong membership base and a large territorial size of a federal state lead to favoring the delegate principle which points to organizational and practical considerations.