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Devolution and party change : candidate selection for the 1999 Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly elections

Mitchell, James and Bradbury, J. and Denver, D. and Bennie, L (2000) Devolution and party change : candidate selection for the 1999 Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly elections. Journal of Legislative Studies, 6 (3). pp. 51-72.

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Abstract

The article analyses the candidate selection procedures of each of the major parties in the run‐up to the 1999 Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly elections, assessing the extent to which they reveal developments in party democratisation and decentralisation on the one hand, and evidence of countervailing central control on the other. Procedural innovations achieved greater openness in candidate nomination and gender balance in candidatures but developments in democratisation were contested and evidence of decentralisation was mixed. Surveys of candidates reveal a perception in the Labour Party that there was too much central influence, although its implications differed in Scotland and Wales. There were perceptions of unfairness and lack of internal democracy in the other parties as well, suggesting in particular a contradiction between central influence in all of the parties’ approaches to list selection and candidates’ expectations of such influence diminishing. Devolution, therefore, released tensions in all parties.