Winning in New Democracies: Why Parties Are More Victorious Than Others in Foundational Elections

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Student Presentation

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Ross Burkhart, Mike Touchton


There is a spectrum of parties that exist in foundational elections in new democracies and the research will seek to identify why some parties are more successful than others, focusing on Latin America. These comparisons will highlight important characteristics of the parties that give them an advantage and thus be more likely to win. Subsequent studies will examine new democracies in other regions. A party can choose to embrace an idea or movement such as the legacy of the old regime or the transition to democracy itself. Hypotheses are developed that will test variables that lead to the party increasing its vote share and share of seats in the country parliament. The variables are old regime alignment, and opposition alignment. Within the countries’ foundational election, the political parties will be identified. Case study compares Brazil and Mexico. The study shows a relationship with party alignment with old regimes and electoral success. The hypotheses will be tested in future research quantitatively throughout the region using multiple regression analysis and a few cases will be more deeply explored qualitatively to further understand the insights from the statistical findings.

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