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The ‘Open Garden of Politics’: The impact of open primaries for candidate selection in the British Conservative Party

Abstract : Since 2003, hundreds of open primaries for the selection of parliamentary candidates have been held by the British Conservative Party as a means of democratising party organisation and enhancing representativeness. In the run-up to the 2015 general election, only 26 primaries could be identified. This article will apply the analytical framework provided by Hazan and Rahat to demonstrate that the relative failure of the experiment in terms of intra-party competition, participation, representation and responsiveness is counterbalanced by the benefits brought by this procedure, both as a tool of party branding at the national level and as a strategy for raising the profiles of candidates at the local level. Therefore, if mainstream parties conceded that the advantages of open primaries need not necessarily be understood in terms of internal democratisation but of party self-promotion, they would realise that open primaries could also serve as a means of preempting populism.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01355706
Contributor : Agnès Alexandre-Collier <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, August 24, 2016 - 9:40:00 AM
Last modification on : Friday, June 8, 2018 - 2:50:13 PM

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Agnès Alexandre-Collier. The ‘Open Garden of Politics’: The impact of open primaries for candidate selection in the British Conservative Party . British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Wiley, 2016, 18 (3), pp.706-723. ⟨10.1177/1369148116636518⟩. ⟨halshs-01355706⟩

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