The Rise of Authoritarian Multiparty Governments
59 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2021 Last revised: 26 May 2022
Date Written: May 25, 2022
In 2016, almost 50\% of dictatorships included multiple parties in their government. Existing research does not account for this, and instead considers granting outsiders access to ministerial cabinets a risky and costly strategy. This article introduces a novel conceptual category: Authoritarian multiparty government (AMG), and provides evidence of its theoretical and empirical relevance. We argue that AMGs are a power-sharing strategy whereby autocrats co-opt outsiders through cabinet appointments to divide the opposition and consolidate their rule. Using individual-level data on ministers' partisan affiliation in autocracies worldwide, we show that AMGs positively correlate with ethnic divides, civil war and “democratic” institutions, and use new measures of power-sharing to demonstrate that coalition partners often exert real influence through their ministerial mandates. Our findings suggest that AMG is an overlooked survival strategy for autocrats, and highlight the need to adopt a broader perspective on parties -- rather than the party -- in dictatorships.
Keywords: Political Parties, Autocratic Politics, Government, Power-sharing
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