1st Edition

Political Parties and Deliberative Democracy in Europe A Convenient Relationship?

Edited By Sergiu Gherghina Copyright 2025
    316 Pages 32 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book presents a systematic account of the relationship between political parties and deliberative democracy.

    It shows which parties prefer deliberation, how intra-party deliberation takes place in practice beyond theoretical models and general descriptions, and how political elites and party members perceive deliberative democracy. Specifically, the book answers how party characteristics influence the use of deliberation by political parties, why intra-party deliberation differs in its use and functioning across parties, and how politicians and party members see deliberation.

    This book is of key interest to scholars and students of party politics, deliberative democracy, democratic innovations, political theory and more broadly, comparative politics.

    1. Introduction: Political Parties and Deliberative Democracy in Europe

    Sergiu Gherghina

    Part 1: Party Characteristics and Deliberative Democracy

    2. Deliberation, Plebiscitarianism and Representation: The Trilemma of Party Democratic Reforms

    Juan Rodríguez-Teruel and Oscar Barberà

    3. Political Ideology and Mini-Publics’ Initiation: Different Frameworks, Different Participation?

    Rodrigo Ramis-Moyano

    4. Ideological Imprints on Participatory Policies: The Influence of Political Parties on The Intensity and Diversity of Participatory Institutions

    Isabel Becerril-Viera and Joan Font

    5. When Politics Meets Deliberation: A Country-Level Analysis in Europe

    Sergiu Gherghina and Bettina Mitru

    6. Collective Discussions: Deliberative Practices of European Radical Left Parties

    Petar Bankov

    Part 2: Explaining Intra-Party Deliberation

    7. A Reflexive Account of Intra-Party Deliberation

    Enrico Biale

    8. Deliberative Procedures in a Deliberative Movement Party: The Agora Case in Belgium

    Nino Junius, Silvia Erzeel and Didier Caluwaerts

    9. Why Do Political Parties Use Democratic Innovations for Internal Reforms? The Case of the Belgian French-Speaking Christian Democratic Party

    Sacha Rangoni, Thomas Legein, David Talukder and Emilie van Haute

    10. Staying Loyal to the Roots? Political Parties and Deliberation in Croatia

    Marko Kukec and Dario Nikić Čakar

    11. Challenges of Internal Deliberation: The Czech Pirate Party

    Petr Voda and Petra Vodová

    12. The “Divergence of Struggles”: Deliberation and Polarisation in the Romanian

    Demos Camil Pârvu and Sergiu Mișcoiu

    Part 3: Deliberative Democracy for Politicians, Members and Voters

    13. Conditions and Features of Party Deliberation: An Analysis of Four Initiatives in Spain

    Adrià Mompó, Rosa Borge and Oscar Barberà

    14. Deliberative Democracy in Iceland: Sources of Disagreement

    Valgerdur Björk Pálsdóttir

    15. Strategic Motivations and Normative Objectives: The Rationale Behind Irish Politicians’ Support for Citizens’ Assemblies

    Fionna Saintraint and Jane Suiter

    16. Government vs Opposition: How Voters, Party Members, and Politicians see Deliberation in Hungary

    Daniel Oross

    17. More Deliberative-Oriented Than Their Party: The Curious Case of Five Star Movement’s Supporters

    Davide Vittori


    Sergiu Gherghina is Associate Professor in Comparative Politics at the University of Glasgow, UK.

    “Parties get a bad rap these days. Scholars of electoral democracy paint a dystopian picture of parties in decline and with them democracy itself. Those working in the emergent field of democratic innovations paint a more hopeful picture of innovating citizen-centred democracies, but their utopian image largely by-passes parties altogether. This book offers a vitally important corrective. For Sergiu Gherghina and his colleagues ‘deliberative democracy has entered the repertoire of political parties, both in rhetoric and in practice’. This fascinating study provides important insights into the role parties have played in driving democratic innovations in a number of European countries, and also in introducing similar reforms to their own internal operations.”

    David Farrell, University College Dublin, Ireland

    “The academic study of political parties and democratic innovations are too often separate endeavours. But in practice these institutions intersect in both democratically constructive and damaging ways. By bringing these two areas of study into conversation, this collection represents a significant contribution to better understanding the varying dynamics between political parties and deliberative processes. This is an important research agenda for those interested in reinvigorating democracy.”

    Graham Smith, Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster, UK

    “The gap between citizens and political parties is increasing – but parties are essential in existing democracies. Can deliberation narrow the gap? This book provides instructive insights on whether and how deliberation can help to reform parties and to enhance parties’ relationship with the broader public. Parties need deliberative practices and deliberative practices need parties – these key findings of the book are crucial for advancing the future of democracy.”

    Brigitte Geissel, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany 

    “In Europe, political parties and deliberative democracy have developed a peculiar relationship that some could define as schizophrenic: they are mutually dependent yet simultaneously repellent. The contributors to Political Parties and Deliberative Democracy in Europe explore the complexities of this convenient relationship, as the editor highlights, and in particular the paradoxes at the heart of this relationship.”

    Min Reuchamps, UCLouvain, Belgium

    “So far, there are only few studies on the relationship between parties and deliberative and participatory practices. This ground-breaking volume fills this gap, bringing together these two strands of scholarship. It offers systematic analyses on parties’ positions towards deliberative and participatory innovations and, perhaps surprisingly, does not find systematic differences between parties belonging to different ideological families. The book concludes that while partisan politics and practices fostering citizen participation and deliberation are functionally different, they have mutually complementary roles in democratic systems.”

    Maija Setälä, University of Turku, Finland