Oross, D. and Gherghina, S.  (2023) Closer to citizens or ticking boxes? Political parties and participatory practices in Hungary. Communist and Post-Communist Studies.

Political parties use participatory practices to connect with their members and with the broader electorate. While substantial research indicates how people get involved, very little is known about why political parties use participatory practices. The present article addresses this gap in the literature and seeks to identify the reasons parties do so. We elaborate an analytical framework that includes three main categories of explanations: party characteristics, internal dynamics, and external dynamics. Our analysis focuses on Hungary, explores party statutes and manifestos, and relies on 26 semi-structured interviews with party elites from ten political parties. The findings indicate that parties have several purposes in mind, which vary across parties, that are often linked to broader concerns about citizen engagement and to attempts to give members a voice in internal and external decision-making processes.