The Rise of Authoritarian Multiparty Governments

59 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2021 Last revised: 26 May 2022

See all articles by Laure Bokobza

Laure Bokobza

University of Oxford

Jacob Nyrup

University of Oslo - Department of Political Science

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

Suggested Citation

Bokobza, Laure and Nyrup, Jacob, The Rise of Authoritarian Multiparty Governments (May 25, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

Laure Bokobza

University of Oxford ( email )

United Kingdom

Jacob Nyrup (Contact Author)

University of Oslo - Department of Political Science ( email )

Eilert Sundts hus 7th floor
Moltke Moes vei 31
Oslo, 0851

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