Return to: Search Page or to: Table of Contents Vol. 20, Issue 1 1

Olli Hellmann, "Outsourcing candidate selection: The fight against clientelism in East Asian parties," Party Politics, 20 (January 2014), 52-62. [Available at ]

First paragraph:
The nomination of candidates for public election is an important link in the chain of democratic delegation between voters and legislators (Rahat, 2007). Motivated by the significance of candidate selection in the political process, scholars have identified a number of factors that can explain different procedures for selecting candidates, thus significantly improving our understanding of why political parties differ in their degree of intraparty democracy. 1 One important explanation for the choice of candidate selection procedures centres on power conflicts between party internal factions. Candidate selection, it has been argued, is the outcome of power struggles within a party, while, at the same time, also shaping these struggles (Gallagher, 1988). Focusing on the first dimension, Barnea and Rahat (2007) show that the success of candidate selection reform depends on whether the initiator of the reform is able to forge a strong enough coalition within the party to undermine the position of those factions opposing reform. Other authors, on the other hand, have turned the spotlight on candidate selection as a means by which to change the balance of power within a political party (Katz, 2001; Langston, 2001; Wu, 2001).

Figures and Tables:

Last Paragraph:
Put in more general terms, this article has presented convincing evidence that electoral strategies can be an important factor influencing factions in their choice of candidate selection procedures. The article thus hopes to encourage further research into the question of what makes party internal actors choose certain nomination methods over others--an area that has so far been relatively neglected by the relevant literature. Possible factors are a faction's organization and its primary function. Concerning the latter, there is scope for further differentiating electoral strategies beyond the clientelistic-programmatic dichotomy. For example, Katz (2001) argues that when political parties in Western Europe shifted their programmatic strategies from the distribution of club goods to the distribution of public goods they had to make candidate selection procedures more inclusive as a means to weakening die-hard ideologists among the party members. Only more systematic studies, however, can show whether this relationship between different programmatic strategies and procedures of candidate selection can 'travel' into other contexts

Last updated March 2014