ABSTRACT The article suggests a framework for the analysis of reform of intra- party candidate selection methods. The framework integrates three levels of analysis – the political system, the party system and the intra- party arena – each providing answers to different aspects of reform: the probable direction of reform and the politically admissible range of reform alternatives; the timing of specific reform initiatives and the intensity of their initiation; and the evolution of a specific attempt at promoting reform. The usefulness of the analytical framework is examined through a focused comparison of cases of reform initiation and adoption within the Israeli Labour and Likud parties over a period of 55 years (1949–2003). The analysis reveals that the frequency of reform in candidate selection methods increases when both external and internal environments become more competitive. The relatively flexible institution of candidate selection methods not only produces incentives for competing actors, but is sometimes also a part of the competition itself.
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