Electoral Systems and Candidate Selection

Reuven Y. Hazan*, Gerrit Voerman

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    36 Citations (Scopus)


    Electoral systems at the national level and candidate selection methods at the party level are connected, maybe not causally but they do influence each other. More precisely, the electoral system constrains and conditions the parties' menu of choices concerning candidate selection. Moreover, in light of this relationship, when a country reforms its electoral system, there will be consequences for the parties' candidate selection methods. This article outlines the possible connection between electoral systems and candidate selection. It elaborates the main dimensions for analyzing candidate selection methods, focusing on inclusiveness and decentralization, delineates their variation across representative democracies and describes their determinants. The current situation regarding candidate selection within the Dutch political parties receives special attention, as do the possible ramifications on Dutch politics in light of shifts in candidate selection that might come about as a result of alternative electoral reforms. The Netherlands is currently debating several possible electoral reforms. Other than maintaining its present electoral system, the three possible reforms all include increasing aspects of more candidate-centered electoral systems. If any of these three is adopted, the resulting shifts in candidate selection will impact party unity on a scale from moderate to significant.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)146-162
    Number of pages17
    JournalActa Politica
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jul-2006


    • electoral systems
    • candidate selection
    • inclusiveness
    • decentralization
    • The Netherlands

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