Working Paper
Participation within political parties: Determinants of candidate selection in the 2013 Bundestag election

While there are a number of studies that focus on the impact of different types of party organisation on participation and representation within parties, there are surprisingly few studies that concentrate on the impact of intra-party conflict and – to be more precise – on the legislative behaviour, ideological positions and constituency characteristics of individual Members of Parliament (MP) on candidate selection. Can we observe that MPs who deviated from the party line – in terms of the speeches they delivered in parliament – have a lower chance to be re-nominated by their party? Frequent deviations of an incumbent MP do not constitute support for the party leadership and may thus encourage the party elite to punish the deviating representatives in a top-down manner. In addition, not addressing the problems existing in the respective electoral district might increase the chances that an MP faces intra-party challengers. Indeed, if an MP does not represent her constituency, she may trigger a bottom-up process in which local activists feel encouraged to challenge their MP in the re-nomination contest. To explore these processes, we make use of novel datasets that cover not only information on all Bundestag MPs that have run for re-election, but also on their intra-party competitors in the electoral districts in the 2013 election campaign. By combining this information with characteristics of the respective constituency and with the specific programmatic position an MP adopted in her parliamentary speeches in the legislative period from 2009 until 2013, we test whether she was re-nominated or not because of the (missing) congruence between her positions and the constituencies interests. Secondly, we test whether the (failed) re-nomination of an MP on the party list is related to the degree of deviation from the overall party line.

Debus Marc, Markus Baumann, Tristan Klingelhöfer