Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Political parties have been a common feature in non-competitive political systems, but their fates following an opening of electoral competition vary widely. Some parties continue to be able successfully compete for power, while many others languish as second-class political parties for decades. This dissertation seeks to answer the questions on this variation based on the institutional and organizational characteristics of these parties during the non-competitive era. Parties that play a major role in the non-competitive regime should be more likely to survive after an opening of competition, and parties that are able to reform anti-democratic legacies will be more able to translate their resources into future electoral success. This project builds on a literature that is rich in regional and sub-regional case studies by developing a global approach based upon comparable institutional qualities of non-competitive political systems and their ruling political parties. I also move away from the transitions literature and its focus on democracy, and instead focus on continuity and change in political parties after a time of major political change and the outcomes of that process. I develop an original, global database of 105 different regimes and 136 parties and their successors and their performance in elections ranging from 1975-2013. I find that parties which are a central institutional feature of the non-competitive regime are likely to survive regardless of their electoral success, while parties that play only a minor supporting role in the prior regime are dependent on continued electoral victories in order to survive for any significant period of time.
Smith, Ian, "Consequences of Electoral Openings on Authoritarian Political Parties." Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2015.