“Choosing among the chosen? Electoral lists and party primaries in Europe”, Carles Pamies and Guillermo Cordero ( Sciences Po CEE, France)

Primaries are becoming the preferred mechanism to select parliamentary elites in an increasing number of parties across Europe. Recent literature has shown that certain party-level characteristics favour the implementation of this inclusive method of selection. However, despite its great relevance in party life, the impact of the electoral system has not attracted enough attention. In this article we wonder if the type of electoral list (blocked or not blocked) has an effect on how participative the method of candidate selection is. We expect primaries to be more popular where electoral lists are blocked, as an intermediate mechanism for the electorate to influence an otherwise leadership-driven process of candidate selection. However, the results of a survey of 2,561 candidates from 37 parties show that this expectation is not met, as primaries seem to be more common precisely in non-blocked lists systems, with this effect being especially visible among right-wing parties. These findings suggest that the type of list might play a key role in this important aspect of internal party life. 

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