Keywords: party delegates, national congress, internal participation, organizational dynamics, party model.
The article focuses on political party delegates defined as intermediate elites for their crucial role linking different faces of a party (party in public office, party in central office, party on the ground). It analyzes data drawn from semi-structured interviews with 4,126 delegates to national congresses of fourteen parties in Italy between 2004 and 2010. More specifically it explores the perception of delegates regarding the importance of congresses, their internal participation, and party organizational dynamics. In its final part the article discusses some implications derived from the empirical findings concerning changes in organizational models of Italian parties in the Second Republic.