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Measuring and evaluating intra-party democracy in Croatia

Europe (Central and Eastern)
Democracy
Political Parties
Dario Nikic Cakar
University of Zagreb
Dario Nikic Cakar
University of Zagreb
Goran Cular
University of Zagreb
Višeslav Raos
University of Zagreb
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Abstract

Intra-party democracy is an emerging research topic of empirical political science dealing with political parties. A growing number of studies on intra-party democracy reports on general trends of introducing democratic procedures and broadening decision-making bodies in party leadership selection, candidate selection and policy-making within contemporary political parties. Since most of research efforts on intra-party democracy focus on West European and Anglo-Saxon countries, party development and intra-party organizational structures in post-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe are mostly neglected. In this paper, we shall try to overcome the selection bias and only partly fill this evident research gap by providing quantitative and qualitative analysis of intra-party democracy in the major political parties in Croatia. In measuring the level of intra-party democracy in Croatian parties, we employ an integrated approach through deductive and standardized content analysis of party statutes, as developed by von dem Berge, Poguntke, Obert and Tipei in 2013. Party statutes are usually a focal point in the analysis of intra-party democracy since they provide the most reliable formal record of the balance of power between different party bodies. In such a way observed results are then interpreted with regard to informal party practice and eventual consequences of both for the actual state of intra-party democracy within Croatian parties. In the second step of the analysis, we rely on semi-structured interviews conducted with the most prominent party leaders and officials in order to get an insight into informal distribution of power in Croatian parties.