Party Matters: The Institutional Origins of Competitiveness and Hegemony in Post Cold War Africa
Morse, Yonatan Lev
What explains differences in electoral authoritarian outcomes? Why are some regimes able to utterly dominate elections with comparatively lower levels of fraud and coercion, while in other cases regimes can only muster slim vote margins? What explains differences in the competitiveness and hegemony of electoral authoritarian elections? This dissertation focuses specifically on Africa's former single-party regimes and argues that differences in party capacity developed under single-party rule is a primary factor differentiating forms of electoral authoritarianism. Through typological theorizing and case-studies of Tanzania, Kenya, and Cameroon this project shows how single-party regimes that elevated the party as an important decision-making institution, made credible investments into party institutionalization, and kept open avenues for elite recruitment were less likely to experience elite defection during multiparty elections. Likewise, single-party regimes that built strong party-affiliated mobilizing structures and engaged in wide practices of social incorporation were able to rely on persistently large electoral support. In the absence of these party capacities regimes were forced to rely more heavily on fraud and a range of contingent factors to survive. By differentiating these forms of electoral authoritarianism and their variant institutional underpinnings this dissertation has significance importance for our understanding of the durability of authoritarianism and the potential path toward democratization.
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