The Emergence, Maintenance and Defeat of Dominant Party Authoritarian Regimes (DPARs)
This thesis is an investigation into the causes behind the emergence, maintenance and defeat of dominant authoritarian party regimes (DPARs). The emergence of these regimes during certain critical junctures in a country's history is attributed to the ability of charismatic leaders to co-opt political elites using electoral instruments and incentives under the banner of a single party. The presence of institutional mechanisms that can smooth the leadership transition process, provide rewards for elites to remain in the dominant party and increase the costs of elite defections are important explanatory factors in DPAR maintenance. DPARs also employ different strategies to co-opt and divide the opposition in order to reassert their political dominance. Intra regime splits are a necessary but not sufficient condition to weaken a DPAR. Institutional reform which further weakens a DPAR and increases the probability of future elite splits is introduced when the opposition can play a veto card. The mutually reinforcing effects of elite splits and institutional reform explain the downfall of DPARs in Mexico, Taiwan, Senegal and Paraguay. The DPAR in Malaysia is at a critical juncture whereby an opposition veto which can possibly lead to institutional reform currently hangs in balance.
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