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Ongoing project

Research on local party branches and non-partisan lists

Project period September 2020 - August 2022
Project nr. 10520
Project leader Jo Saglie

Project background

In Norwegian local democracy, local party branches and non-partisan local lists recruit candidates for local elections. Party branches and lists also develop policies and communicate these policies to the voters, and thus present alternative visions for the future development of the municipality. To make local representative democracy work, it is thus necessary that the organizations of parties and lists function well enough to perform these tasks.

Project approach

The basic question of the project is: How do party branches and non-partisan contribute to Norwegian local democracy – and democracy in the country as a whole? Besides this fundamental question, we also ask a more practical question: how well does Norwegian policy on public party funding and party finance transparency work?

The project covers five aspects of party branches and lists:

  1. Purely internal activities and organization: how do party branches and lists organize their work?
  2. Municipal council-oriented activities: how do local branches and lists influence the activities and policies of their municipal council groups (including the selection of candidates for municipal elections)?
  3. Community-oriented activities: what do local groups and lists do externally – to reach out to the citizens, local civil society and local media?
  4. Linkage to national politics: what kind of contact takes place between the parties' municipal branches, county branches and national organization?
  5. The conditions for local party and list activities, in the form of public funding and transparency requirements.

We map the current situation within these five areas, especially topics that previous research has not covered. We also ask how and why the situation of the party branches/lists varies – between municipalities (large and small, merged and unmerged), between different parties, and between party branches on the one hand and non-partisan lists on the other.

The two main data sources of the project are an online survey to party branches and local lists, and qualitative interviews in selected case municipalities.


ParticipantDegree PhoneE-mail
Vibeke Wøien Hansen Senior Research Fellow PhD +47 920 27 149
Jo Saglie Research Professor Dr. polit. +47 991 62 131
Signe Bock Segaard Senior Research Fellow PhD +47 994 28 724
Hilmar Mjelde (Norce)
Tags: Elections and Democracy
Published Sep. 14, 2020 9:47 AM - Last modified Sep. 14, 2020 11:12 AM