By Frances Millard (auth.)
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Extra info for Elections, Parties and Representation in Post-Communist Europe
15 Leaflets, election addresses, and campaign slogans conveyed a broad message and general image of the party. 17 Their emphasis was on the quality of members, whose resources – prestige, money, connections, expertise – could be mobilised for electoral success. Mass suffrage initially led to some greater opening up of such parties, but they needed voters rather than members; they tended to remain decentralised and loosely knit. 18 Other parties operated within a distinct milieu, such as that provided by the labour movement for socialists and the churches for Christian parties.
35 At the same time new parties challenged the old bases of representation, as well as the catch-all strategists and the cartel parties. 36 They brought a new emphasis on the representation of (‘post-materialist’) values, including the representation of future generations. One strand of greenery introduced a new style of left-wing politics and links with representatives of social movements, such as feminists and gay rights’ activists. Greens entered national parliaments in Belgium in 1981 and in Germany, Switzerland, and Finland in 1983, after which they became familiar features of the parliamentary scene and governing partners in several countries.
Clearly the recruitment of candidates by political parties is a crucial party activity; candidates provide the pool from which representatives are chosen. However, other roles identified by (idealised) functional approaches to parties are also closely related to the process of ‘acting on behalf’ of those they represent. Parties set the political agenda through their aggregation of interests, their priorities, and their policies. They actively seek to structure public choice. Parties are also mechanisms of integration, bringing people into the political process by providing channels of communication between society and political leaders.