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Bringing the members back in? Democratizing candidate selection in Britain and Spain

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Primary elections and membership ballots are becoming more common as a means of selecting candidates in European parties. This article assesses the likely implications of these changes for party cohesion by examining the American experience of primaries and contrasting US candidate selection with the membership ballots and primaries recently adopted by parties in the UK and Spain. It is argued that, in the absence of state regulation of candidate selection in European parties, these changes are unlikely to undermine party organizations as primaries have in the US. Instead, the European experience suggests that party leaders have been able to retain ultimate control over candidate selection, and that the democratization of the process has been more formal than real.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/642/1/hopkinpp2001.pdf

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