The organisation, structure and political presence of the European Left Party
in The European Left Party
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In this chapter we discuss the range of factors – procedural, institutional and path-dependent divergences in European orientation – which weigh heavily upon policy-making efficacy within the EL. There is a critical interrogation of the development of the organisation and structures of the EL. We consider what might on the surface appear to be one of the EL’s most exciting and innovative features – the admission of individual members who can join the EL directly, without belonging to a national political party. This might seem to mark a turning-point in the evolution of ‘Europeanisation’. However, the category of individual membership has, until now, been largely stymied. We examine issues of leadership, hierarchy and policy-making within the EL, the role of the various party bodies and the question of internal party democracy. We reflect critically upon the self-effacing stand of the EL within the European Parliament. Finally, we consider the EL’s nature as a networking organisation.

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