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Bonnie N. Field and Peter M. Siavelis, "Candidate Selection Procedures in Transitional Polities: A Research Note," Party Politics, 14 (September, 2008), 620-639.

First paragraph:
It has long been recognized that candidate selection (CS) is a core function that political parties perform, and that CS activities distinguish parties from other types of political organization (Epstein, 1967: 10, 77; Henig, 1970: 15; Key, 1964: 370; Kirchheimer, 1966: 189-90; Ranney, 1981: 102-3; Schattschneider, 1942: 64). In his writing about United States political parties, Schattschneider (1942: 64) states that the nomination is the most important activity of the party; 'if a party cannot make nominations it ceases to be a party'. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in legislative recruitment and CS (see Hazan and Rahat, 2006; Norris, 2006; Rahat, 2007). Political recruitment refers to 'the process through which individuals are inducted into active political roles' (Czudnowski, 1975: 156). CS is but one part of the recruitment process. Along with Ranney (1981: 75), this work conceptualizes CS as: the predominantly extralegal process by which a political party decides which of the persons legally eligible to hold an elective public office will be designated on the ballot and in election communications as its recommended and supported candidate or list of candidates. Duverger reminds us that in certain electoral contexts the CS process largely determines who will be elected (1959: 368-9). This occurs in two-party electoral contests where there is a clear disparity of support, and in proportional representation systems with fixed lists. In the former instance, Key (1964: 383) states that it cannot be said that 'the primary is a method of nomination; it is the election'. Speaking of the safe seats in the British parliamentary system, Rush (1969: 4) states that 'selection is tantamount to election'. In closed-list proportional representation systems, Duverger (1959: 368) asserts 'it is as if the electorate conferred on a particular party the right to choose 20% of the parliamentary representatives, to another the right to choose 15%, to a third 40%, and so on'. The ranking, determined by the CS process, determines the relative chances of each individual. In all electoral environments, the CS process is the selection before the election which dramatically narrows the electorate's choice.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Hypothesized determinants of candidate selection procedures

Last paragraph:
As the burgeoning study of CS procedures advances, we argue that scholars should seriously consider the differences between transitional and institutionalized polities when investigating the determinants of legislative CS procedures. We also stress that the genesis of CS procedures in post-authoritarian environments is important to analyze because founding transitional moments help explain not only the CS procedures initially adopted but may also create a certain path dependency (Panebianco, 1988). In presenting this research note we propose the further testing of these variables to account for variation across polity types (institutionalized versus transitional democracies) and among transitional political systems.

Last updated August 2008