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The Legislative Recruitment of Ethnic Minority Candidates in the German Political Parties - Neutrality, Closure or Openness?

Political Parties
Representation
Candidate
Immigration
Sara Yasemin Ceyhan
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
Sara Yasemin Ceyhan
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
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Abstract

Modern states are increasingly characterized by an ethnic diversity. Although ethnic minorities constitute a large share in most Western countries they are still descriptively under-represented in parliaments. Even countries that experienced major immigration early in the 1950s and 1960s like Germany cannot record an equal representation yet. In Germany, political parties play a critical role for the legislative recruitment of parliamentary candidates. Despite the central role of party-internal recruitment processes in shaping who runs for election, little is known how political parties recruit minority-candidates. The primary reason for this research gap is that studying parties’ informal recruitment practices is difficult since they are not legally defined in the national legislation or party statutes. To explore the role of political parties for the legislative recruitment of minority-candidates the paper asks how political parties recruit candidates of immigrant background in comparison to non-minority-candidates and whether they employ any specific recruitment strategies vis-a-vis minority-candidates. For this purpose, three contrasting models are developed. These models – the neutrality, the closure and the opening model – specify which recruitment strategies political parties can employ towards minority-candidates. According to the neutrality model, political parties recruit minority-candidates similarly to non-minority-candidates. According to the closure model, recruitment processes are highly closed for minority-candidates; they must surpass their counterparts without an immigrant background in regard to political qualifications and experiences. The opening model argues that political parties employ proactive recruitment strategies in terms of a preferential treatment to bring forward more minority-candidates. Survey data which measure candidates’ personal recruitment profiles can provide information on parties’ recruitment practices. By using survey data from candidates running for the state elections in Hesse and Bavaria in 2013 and in Saxony in 2014 as well as for the Bundestag election in 2013, it is analyzed in what specific ways political parties recruit minority-candidates.