Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Reuven Y. Hazan
Primary elections—or preliminary, earlier elections—can come first both in order and in importance. They come first in order because selecting candidates is one of the first things that political parties must do before an election. They can be first in importance as well because those who are eventually elected to office are the successful candidates whom the parties previously selected; and they are the ones who will determine what the party, the parliament, and the country's politics will look like until the next elections. In the study of preliminary elections, the unit of analysis is the single party in a particular country at a specific time. There are very few established de moc racies where the legal system specifies criteria for candidate selection—for example, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, and Norway (until 2002)—and only in the United States does the legal system extensively regulate the primary elections. Preliminary elections, or This ...