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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: November 2012

6 - Why Authoritarian Parties? The Regime Party as an Instrument of Co-optation and Control


While a party card is of course no guarantee of success, [the] lack of it is a guarantee that you will not have a career of any kind.

Voslensky, Nomenklatura (1984, 98)

What actually holds the present regime together is not a set of uncoordinated policies that pleases all sectors and paralyzes the government, but rather a system of mobility that attracts the personal allegiance of spokesmen for all the PRI sectors from the bottom to the top of the party hierarchy.

Hansen, The Politics of Mexican Development (1971, 220)

A growing body of research finds that dictatorships with a single or a dominant political party represent an especially resilient form of authoritarian rule. In a seminal paper, Geddes (1999a) classified dictatorships into personalist, military, single-party, and their hybrids and showed that single-party dictatorships are less likely to break down and democratize than the remaining categories. Research on an institutionally related category of dictatorship – dominant or hegemonic party regimes – similarly concludes that these regimes are particularly robust, even in the face of economic crises and popular opposition (Slater 2003; Smith 2005; Magaloni 2006; Brownlee 2007a). In a complementary line of research, Gandhi and Przeworski (2007) report that leaders in single-party regimes survive longer in office, and Chapter 4 shows that leadership in dictatorships with parties is less likely to be deposed by noninstitutional means, such as coups and popular uprisings. Even when single- and dominant-party dictatorships democratize, former party elites frequently shape the transition process and, in many cases, continue to maintain economic and political influence (Grzymała-Busse 2002, 2007).

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The Politics of Authoritarian Rule
  • Online ISBN: 9781139176040
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