Straníci, bezpartijní a nezávislí zastupitelé na českých radnicích
POLITICAL PARTY MEMBERS, NON-MEMBERS AND INDEPENDENTS IN THE CZECH MUNICIPAL ASSEMBLIES
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In the Czech Republic, associations of independent candidates play an exceptional role in local politics; in fact, members of such associations are the most common type of politician in the country. Even the large political parties do have enough members to put together candidate lists in most municipalities without the help of candidates not affiliated to any political party. This article demonstrates the cogency of distinguishing between two types of non-party politicians. First, there are politicians (candidates, councillors) who are not members of any political party but take advantage of the opportunity to run for them. Second, there are independents who run either independently or on the candidate lists of associations of independent candidates. While similar in many respects, there are also important differences between the two. Independents are more frequently women and people who before November 1989 were not members of the Communist Party. Compared to political party members, non-members are often elected on the basis of preference votes, but have smaller ambitions and often do not stand for re-election. A new finding is that a not insignificant number of political party members began their political career as independents, before joining a political party. The article draws on data from the international survey Municipal Assemblies in European Local Governance (MAELG), which concentrates on the recruitment, political careers, values, attitudes and working conditions of councillors in municipalities with a population over 10 000 inhabitants. In view of the importance of the size of the municipality, the Czech survey was expanded to include councillors from municipalities with a population between 3000 and 10 000 inhabitants.
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