Domesticating Political Parties

Political party bans are the predominant focus of comparative constitutional law, because of their political visibility and foundation in constitutional texts. We should broaden our focus to an alternative mechanism of militant democracy: political party domestication. With the exception of Article 21(1) of the Grundgesetz, domestication strategies are typically found in non-constitutional sources such as political party legislation and internal rules of legislative procedure. Nevertheless, domestication strategies should be seen as instruments of militant democracy performing similar functions to political party bans. Militant democracy, and party bans and domestication strategies, flow from a constitution’s basic structure: to provide a framework for bounded, partisan, pluralist political competition among political parties. I focus on internal party democracy and the regulation of legislative floor-crossing as examples of domestication strategies.