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Candidate Nomination Institution and Immigrant Representation

Political Parties
Representation
Candidate
Immigration
Maritta Soininen
Stockholm University
Maritta Soininen
Stockholm University
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Abstract

Advanced democracies are facing new claims for political representation as a result of immigration. In this context, political parties are important gate-keepers, with a monopoly on paths to political representation. As research shows, SES-models can only explain to a limited extent the under-representation of immigrants in elected office (Dancygier et al. forthcoming). We need, therefore, turn our attention to the ‘black box’ of intraparty processes, and examine how the routines and rules guiding parties’ candidate nomination processes (dis)favor persons of immigrant origin. This paper addresses the question of how forms of input democracy that inform intraparty nomination processes affect output democracy in terms of representational outcomes for immigrants. The aim is to contribute to the scholarly debate on party organizations and the under-representation of immigrants. As private, voluntary associations parties have great freedom in deciding on their internal organization. This includes the selection and nomination of candidates, which is one of their key functions and distinguishes them from other organizations (Cross 2008). Interestingly, while research shows that parties expand their use of selective incentives, including empowering members in intraparty decision-making, in order to fight declining membership (Scarrow & Gezgor 2010) it also shows that widened intraparty democracy in composing the party list is negatively correlated with gender balanced representation (Rahat, Hazan & Katz 2008). However, we know little about whether different forms of intra-party democracy - deliberative, participatory democratic or corporatist - are equally (dis)advantageous for immigrant representation. The paper’s empirical focus is on Swedish party organizations and their performance in the electoral system, which is highly party-oriented with a vote in elections being primarily a vote for a party list. We make use of empirical materials from two previous studies on recruitment processes.