The political representation of ethnic minorities in the Netherlands: Ethnic minority candidates and the role of party characteristics
SourceActa Politica, 54, 2, (2019), pp. 245-267
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectInequality, cohesion and modernization; Ongelijkheid, cohesie en modernisering
This article examines the extent to which political parties affect the descriptive representation of both Western and non-Western ethnic minority groups on the candidate lists of political parties in the Netherlands. It systematically tests the role of policy positions of Dutch parties, their ethnic minority support, and candidate selection methods. As list position is related to electoral success, we study the nomination of ethnic minority candidates as well as their position on the candidate list. Using ethnic background data of all candidates for the Dutch parliamentary elections in 2012, we find that minorities of Turkish and Moroccan origin are not underrepresented, and that descriptive representation is below parity for Western minorities. We observe neither effect from parties' ethnic support on ethnic representation, nor do we find any relation between party selection procedure and ethnic minority representation. The position of parties on immigration issues, however, is shown to be important. The results indicate that parties with more restrictive positions on integration and migration not only nominate fewer ethnic minority candidates, they also place non-Western ethnic minority candidates in lower list positions than parties who are less restrictive towards migration and integration.
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