Platform Politics in Europe | The Impact of Online Participation Platforms on the Internal Democracy of Two Southern European Parties: Podemos and the Five Star Movement
The article examines the impact of two online participation platforms on the internal party democracy (IPD) of the Five Star Movement (5SM) in Italy and Podemos in Spain. The article considers whether the frequent use of the platforms for internal consultations automatically translates into a higher quality of IPD. The conclusion is that the impact of the participation platforms on the quality of IPD is modest insofar as the leadership of both parties controls the subject, framing, and timing of the consultations to strengthen its own position. From this angle, statutory regulations, technological affordances, and high-frequency consultations function as a series of interlocking constraints on the capacity of ordinary members to participate on a regular basis, to influence the party agenda, and to make decisions based on alternative viewpoints.