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Economic Performance and Elite Defection from Hegemonic Parties

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2010

Abstract

Hegemonic party regimes are non-democratic regimes that (1) rule with the aid of a dominant political party and (2) hold multi-party elections. Elite coalitions organized under the aegis of a hegemonic party are most vulnerable in elections that coincide with poor economic performance. A declining economy provides elites with a platform around which they can mobilize support to challenge incumbents in elections. As a result, the likelihood of defections from hegemonic parties increases as income declines. This study’s original dataset, which includes 227 elections for the chief executive in hegemonic party dictatorships from 1946 to 2004, and its case studies of defections in Zimbabwe under ZANU-PF in 2008 and Turkey under the Democratic Party in 1955 provide evidence for this proposition.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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References

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39 Since we cannot gather information on all legislative candidates in parliamentary regimes, we look only at the founders and leaders of parties in parliamentary regimes. If the founders and/or leaders of an opposition party were members of the hegemonic party prior to the election, this counts as a defection.

40 For information on the sources used for all variables in the analysis, see the author’s webpage: http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~oreuter/Reuter_Site/Home.html

41 We recognize that this coding rule may exclude instances in which a potential defector challenges the regime with the precise goal of being expelled. But we choose not to code these cases as defection, for admitting such cases would also oblige us to include regime-initiated purges in which notable party members are simply expelled against their own will.

42 We also test the effect of long-run economic growth (i.e. the average growth rate over the life of the hegemonic party) and one-year lag of economic growth. As we discuss below, the results are highly similar.

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44 If there is no prior presidential election, we take the regime party’s vote total in the prior legislative election. In the first elections after single-party rule, Previous Vote receives a value of 100. In the first elections after independence, we take the hegemonic party’s vote share in elections for territorial or colonial assemblies.

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47 Recent studies using cross-national electoral data with low country (N) to time-period (T) ratios such as ours (3.8 elections per hegemonic party) have settled on this approach (see Golder, Matthew, ‘Presidential Coattails and Legislative Fragmentation’, American Journal of Political Science, 50 (2006), 3448CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Hicken, Allen, Building Party Systems in Developing Democracies (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Including a lagged dependent variable to correct for serial autocorrelation within units is impractical given the large number of observations that would be lost and the uneven spacing between elections. Even so, models that include Past Defections (a measure of whether a hegemonic party has experienced a defection at some time in the past) as a control variable reveal little indication of temporal dependence.

48 However, reverse causation is possible in that a defection may affect the vote share of an incumbent in the contemporaneous election. Also, this variable is highly correlated with both Polity and Previous Vote. Indeed, when removing Vote Share from Model 2, Previous Vote becomes significant. Therefore, in most of the subsequent models we use Previous Vote in place of Vote Share to circumvent the endogeneity problems posed by Vote Share.

49 The importance of opportunity structure in determining the likelihood of defection raises the issue of endogenous elections. If dictators anticipate elite defections from their coalitions in upcoming elections, they can cancel elections, opening the possibility for selection effects that may bias our results. Upon investigating cancelled elections, we found that dictators in party regimes cancel elections very infrequently. In Africa, for example, scheduled elections were cancelled only four times (i.e. Angola 1997 and 2002, Burkina Faso in 1974, and Guinea-Bissau in 1992). Given the rarity of cancelled elections, we choose not to use a selection model because the skewness of the dependent variable in the first stage (cancelled elections) will produce highly inefficient and possibly biased estimates of covariates that affect the decision to hold elections and of the Inverse Mill’s Ratio. In addition, since the severity of selection bias is directly proportional to the percentage of the sample that is truncated, we are sanguine about the robustness of our results in the face of potential selection bias.

50 The model shown includes only Sub-Saharan Africa as a control variable. In other results, we tested other regional dummies and found them to be collectively insignificant.

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58 We also examined this alternative hypothesis by including per capita income. The coefficient on income is never significantly different from 0 while the effects of other variables remain substantively unchanged.

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63 That this act was not a ‘morally justified’ component of a lustration programme against the RPP is confirmed by the fact that the DP waited until mid 1951 to take these measures and that the resolution was not implemented at first, but only held out as a threat to keep the CHP in check. Only when the DP recognized the CHP as an endemic threat did it move to confiscate the party’s assets (Erogul, , ‘The Establishment of Multi-party Rule’, p. 108)Google Scholar.

64 Weiker, Walter F., The Turkish Revolution: 1960–1961 (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1963), p. 10Google Scholar.

65 As Weiker, The Turkish Revolution, points out, where the laws were not inherently anti-democratic, their selective interpretation and enforcement were.

66 Erogul, , ‘The Establishment of Multi-party Rule’, p. 111Google Scholar.

67 The party won 93 per cent of the seats in the legislative assembly.

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70 For more on the origins of Turkey’s economic difficulties in 1954–55, see The Economist, 2 July 1955 and 24 December 1955.

71 See Karpat, , Turkey’s Politics; Karpat, ‘The Turkish Elections of 1957’; and Robinson, The First Turkish Republic, on the conditions leading up to the crisisGoogle Scholar.

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75 The party faced difficulties building a national organization and fared poorly in the general elections of October 1957, winning 3.7 per cent of the vote and four seats. Months later the party merged with CHP.

76 Some sources suggest that the DP was adopting more and more authoritarian practices in 1954 and 1955; see Karpat, ‘The Turkish Elections of 1957’, and Weiker, The Turkish Revolution. We readily acknowledge the difficulty in determining whether the Freedom party defections occurred because dissatisfaction with the DP’s growing authoritarianism reached some tipping point in 1955 or whether it was due solely to the economic crisis. We can only re-emphasize that the timing of Celikhbas’s decision to introduce the draft amendment, and the subsequent split from the party came just weeks after the September Istanbul riots, which occurred in response to the economic crisis.

77 ZANU was Mugabe’s original party, incorporating the Patriotic Front shortly before independence. This alliance briefly broke down during the 1980 elections when the PF’s original leader, Joshua Nkomo, contested the elections as PF-ZAPU while Mugabe campaigned under the partisan label of ZANU-PF.

78 Kriger, Norma, ‘ZANU(PF) Strategies in General Elections, 1980–2000: Discourse and Coercion’, African Affairs, 104 (2005), 134CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Sachikonye, Lloyd, ‘The 1990 Zimbabwe Elections: A Post-Mortem’, Review of African Political Economy, 48 (1990), 9299CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

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82 ‘Power: Zimbabwe’, Africa Research Bulletin: Economic, Financial and Technical Series, 44 (March 2007); Latham, Brian, ‘Zimbabwe Currency Plunges to Four Million to the U.S. Dollar’, International Herald Tribune, 5 December 2007, http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/12/04/bloomberg/bxzim.php, downloaded 10 February 2008Google Scholar.

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84 Winter, ‘Simba Makoni’.

85 Taylor, Darren, ‘Former ZANU-PF Heavyweight Prepares to Challenge Mugabe’, Voice of America, 19 March 2008, http://www.voanews.com/english/Africa/Former-ZANU-PF-Heavyweight-Prepares-to-Challenge-Mugabe.cfm, downloaded 20 March 2008Google Scholar.

86 Mpofu, Patricia, ‘MDC Welcomes New Mugabe Challenger’, ZimOnline, 6 February 2008, http://www.zimonline.co.za/Article.aspx?ArticleId=2671, downloaded 10 February 2008. Makoni reputedly had the support of former army chief and major party figure Solomon Mujuru, whose wife was vice-president along with other members of ZANU-PF (Winter, ‘Simba Makoni’)Google Scholar.

87 Chirinda, Simplicious, ‘Surprise, Disbelief Greets Makoni’s Bid for Presidency’, ZimOnline, 6 February 2008, http://www.zimonline.co.za/Article.aspx?ArticleId=2667, downloaded 10 February 2008Google Scholar.

88 Magaloni, , Voting for AutocracyGoogle Scholar.

89 Smith, , ‘Life of the Party’Google Scholar.

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