Keywords: political parties, candidate selection, intra-party politics, middle-level party elite members, Italy.
Candidate selection is one of the most important activities of political parties in a democracy. This paper contributes to the growing literature about the topic by examining candidate selection within contemporary Italian parties. Particular emphasis is placed on: a) internal party rules as stated in party statutes; b) implementation and operation of such rules; and c) middle-level party elites members' attitudes toward intraparty democracy. In order to examine middle-level party elites members' attitudes, aggregate survey data, collected at party congresses between 2004 and 2010, was used. Inter-party similarities and differences are explored using hypotheses relating to a) the vote/office versus policyseeking orientation; and b) the factional make-up of a party. Analysis reveals that party statutes and prevalent practices are mainly oligarchic with the exception of the Democratic Party. Overall, middle-level elites favour more inclusive and decentralized mechanisms of candidate selection.