Members Vs. Experts in Czech Political Parties. Reflections on a New Dimension of the Party Membership

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: Booth 45
Oral Presentation
Michel PEROTTINO , Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Our main research theme is the Policy-related Expertise in Czech political parties, this theme allows us to focus on such topics as the place of experts in the parties, especially in terms of concurrence between „old“ members and experts proposing other resources and legitimacy.

The capacity of expertise is now generally considered as a common and obligatory need and good for every party which try to get into the government, based on the idea of a less political and more technical problems to solve on the national or local level.

For this paper we will focus on some aspects but we will discuss mainly the thesis of a practical mix of intra/extra-party legitimacy in the sense of the response to the need of new members seen as specialists or experts. For instance a problem can occur at the time when party came to the power and it gives to members some places or functions (retributions).

Our hypothesis, facing the question of intraparty democracy, are first that there should be a conflict between two diverse legitimacies but over all that such a need for experts contribute highly to undermine the importance of intraparty socialisation and, at the end, weaknesses the party organisation: the members have not to be active for the party as itself, but they have to be experts immediately useable without being “real” members. Secondly this concurrence of intra/extra party legitimacy can be understand practically also as a better and quickest application of experts in the state or local management to the detriment of classical members. Thirdly the other face of this phenomenon is that the less party socialized experts are less disciplined or that they are more prone to defections or change of party affiliation during their mandate.