Why (So many) Parties? The Logic of Party Formation in Senegal

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Why (So many) Parties? The Logic of Party Formation in Senegal

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Title: Why (So many) Parties? The Logic of Party Formation in Senegal
Author: Kelly, Catherine Lena
Citation: Kelly, Catherine Lena. 2014. Why (So many) Parties? The Logic of Party Formation in Senegal. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
Access Status: This work is under embargo until 2018-12-10
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Abstract: Political parties proliferated in Senegal and other competitive authoritarian regimes in post-Cold War Africa. This dissertation examines the causes and consequences of that proliferation. Why do so many politicians create their own parties in this context and what are the consequences of party proliferation for opposition party behavior and presidential turnover?
The dissertation addresses these questions with original data collected over sixteen months of fieldwork in Senegal, including over one hundred interviews, material from party archives, local press clippings, political biographies, and data on elections and party behavior.
Party formation, strategy, and competition are shaped by the "uneven playing field," a hallmark of competitive authoritarian regimes that entails systematic, deep advantages for the ruling party in terms of access to political finance, media, and the state. Focused on Senegal, a critical case of party proliferation, the dissertation traces how the uneven playing field not only empowers the president to create incentives for proliferation; it also renders life in the opposition so difficult that many politicians form parties to negotiate their way into the state. A significant subset of Senegalese party leaders is primarily concerned not with competing in elections; they focus instead on patronage negotiation, which does not necessarily entail vote-seeking. Moreover, because most party leaders minimize their involvement in elections that are difficult to win, they rarely function as the consistent opposition parties that bolster liberal democracy. Party leaders rarely possess the endowments that foster such behavior- namely, prior experience as high-level state administrators and access to international private financing. Finally, in the absence of consistent opposition parties, ex-regime insiders often constitute the president's most serious electoral challengers. Insider opposition candidates' previous access to the state provides opportunities for political advancement that outsiders lack.
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:13064816
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