Constitutionalising the Party: Protecting the State from the Party and the Party from its Base

In this paper, I will argue that democratic constitutions should seek to achieve two design objectives in relation to political parties:
(i) Protect the state from capture by a political party; and
(ii) Protect political parties from capture (by an autocratic leadership, wealthy donors or a narrow base).
These design objectives are drawn from the value of democracy itself. With respect to the first objective, a regime where the party and the state are sufficiently fused cannot be described as a democracy because the fundamental democratic tenet requiring genuine political competition is breached. Regarding the second objective, a political party that is captured by a narrow base, an autocratic leadership or wealthy donors—I will argue—is bad for democracy. The paper will then discuss some design solutions that, depending on the context, could be deployed towards these objectives.