Vanguard or business-as-usual? ‘New’ movement parties in comparative perspective

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Davide Vittori
Sage Journals
The International Political Science Review


The recent success of new movement parties in Europe brought the attention of party politics scholars to this hybrid party type. There are still many under-analysed theoretical and empirical aspects related to their organization and this article aims to show that despite sharing older movement parties’ traits, these ‘new’ movement parties introduce for the first time a unique combination of plebiscitarian intra-party democracy and party leadership empowerment. The implications of these findings are twofold: first, despite promoting intra-party democracy mainly through new digital tools, the main function of party membership is that of cheerleading; second, the leadership exercises strict control over the organization, thus restricting bottom-up ‘voice’ from the rank-and-file.