Contagion Effects by the AfD? Candidate Selection in Germany

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The resilient stability of the German party system has long been seen as exceptional amongst European countries. However, as a reaction to the European financial crisis and the refugee crisis, the AfD as an anti-establishment, right-wing populist party was founded in 2013 and has been able to establish itself as a relevant competitor in the German system. The AfD criticizes mainstream parties for their lack of internal democracy and has an anti-establishment and populist attitude. Therefore, the chapter examines first whether the AfD selects its candidates for elections in accordance with their self-image based on grassroots democracy in terms of an inclusive participatory process and a representative outcome. The analysis reveals that although candidate selection processes show a high degree of inclusiveness, they have been centrally influenced by party elites and characterized by violations against the democratic procedures. In addition, AfD factions show only low levels of descriptive representation. The chapter also scrutinizes whether the traditional mainstream parties react to AfD as a new competitor by modifying their candidate selection procedures. The analysis of the procedures before and after the emergence of the AfD reveals that there is no evidence for contagion effects since candidate selection of the AfD is not innovative and perceived as undemocratic due to the numerous scandals in the process of selection.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Selection of Politicians in Times of Crisis
EditorsXavier Coller, Guillermo Codero, Antonio M. Jaime-Castillo
Number of pages17
Place of PublicationNew York, London
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Publication date01.01.2018
ISBN (Print)9781138895218
ISBN (Electronic)9781315179575
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2018