Intra-party democracy

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Intra-party democracy is the practice of democracy in political parties, in which party members are involved in decision-making on issues of direction and personnel policy through the flow of information, meetings and votes. The political will of the majority of party members should flow through elections and votes in individual decisions and programs ( basic programs, election programs, government programs) of the party concerned.

Internal party democracy in Germany

In Germany, intra-party democracy is legally comprehensible through a provision of the Basic Law (GG) to the parties . In Article 21, Paragraph 1, Clause 3 of the Basic Law it says: Your internal order must correspond to democratic principles. In the Political Parties Act (PPA) of 1967, this is explained in more detail: The supreme organ of a party is the members or delegates meeting ( § 9 that the Section 1 PPA.) Board selects ( § 9 para 3 PPA.) And it relieves ( § 9 Para. 5 PPA). Furthermore, all party members or representatives have the same voting rights ( Section 10 PartG). The will is formed by majority decision ( § 15 PartG). Instruments of intra-party democracy are also party congresses and delegate conferences, e.g. B. constituency delegate conferences which serve the sole purpose of nominating the party's direct candidate for a state or federal election in the constituency concerned.

In addition to these provisions, parties of the PartG are also obliged to comply with rules about their financing and to give a public account of their assets.

Internal party democracy in Austria

In Austria internal party democracy is not mandatory. The candidate of the People's Party for parliamentary elections in 2017 were of party leader Sebastian Kurz chosen themselves and ranked, as are the Team Stronach candidates in the national election in 2013 by Frank Stronach . There were no party leader elections in the Stronach team. The party executive was appointed by Stronach.


In political practice is to implement the basic idea is that the majority of incumbents (d. H. Board members, delegates to party conferences and delegate meetings and in representative bodies of a political party authorities elected MPs ), the same should endorse as the majority of party members, often difficult, as above At the level of the local club or association, direct democratic procedures (e.g. the primary election of top staff for state or federal elections) are rarely used. Since the boards of directors are often very active in parties, whereas the majority of members only sporadically (if at all) participate in the decision-making process within the parties, decision-making processes in which the will of all party members should be taken into account are difficult. This can be done through elaborate general assemblies (at which not all members appear in most cases) or party congresses without delegates, unless methods of liquid democracy (within the framework of what is permitted under the party law) are practiced. With traditional codecision procedures, time passes by adhering to invitation deadlines and compliance with other formal requirements, which makes the decision-making process cumbersome. Also for this reason (and not because the Political Parties Act would prohibit instruments such as primary elections), will formation in parties usually takes place using methods of representative democracy . According to this, the elected board of directors or other legitimate management bodies ( party congresses , small party congresses, party councils , etc.) make most of the important decisions.

According to Section 15 (3) of the PartG, there is no imperative mandate within parties. From a legal point of view, no office holder is “bound by the decisions of other organs”, including decisions of the “base”. This can, if necessary, deselect office holders due to “misconduct”. A binding direct democratic participation via mechanisms such as delegated voting is therefore currently not to be agreed with the PartG.

In practice, intra-party elections often turn into a farce because the candidates have agreed in advance or there are just as many candidates as there are positions available. In particular, the position of party chairman is seldom filled by candidate for a fight at all levels . This is also due to the fact that simple party members tolerate such behavior (which they are not obliged to do).

Intra-party democracy and parliamentary groups

Even in accordance with the principle of parliamentary democracy, there is no imperative mandate for representatives of the parties who have been elected by the citizens into representative bodies of regional authorities: The members of a parliament ( German Bundestag , state parliament , district council , city ​​council ) who belong to the same party normally form a faction . The principle of the free mandate according to Article 38.1 of the Basic Law prevents the MPs from being bound by the party's democratically made decisions . The MP is therefore only subject to his conscience when making a decision. The so-called parliamentary group obligation , which is often discussed in connection with the above-mentioned representatives of the people , does not literally exist; however, the free mandate in parliamentary practice is restricted by parliamentary group discipline. This means that the minority who are defeated in votes within the faction bows to the faction's majority in the interests of a united appearance of the group in the vote in the plenary of Parliament and votes in the same way as the majority.

The decision-making made by the parliamentary group's internal votes do not necessarily have to agree with the political determinations that a party congress of the respective party has made for this topic. One of the main reasons for deviating from basic and electoral programs as well as from party congress resolutions is the need for governing parties to comply with regulations that were agreed in a coalition agreement with the coalition partner in a joint government .