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Democratizing Democracy? Civil Society and Party Organization in Bolivia

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The rise to power of movement-based parties is a new and expanding phenomenon. Existing theories predict these parties will become increasingly oligarchic as they govern nationally. The Bolivian MAS deviates from this conventional wisdom, as it has followed a remarkably different organizational trajectory that has facilitated grassroots impact and constrained elite control. Through a within-case comparative examination of MAS, this article identifies necessary conditions and explains mechanisms facilitating this outcome in the crucial area of candidate selection. Key to understanding how these parties operate is the organizational context in which they are embedded. Where civil society is strong, has mechanisms to arrive at decisions, and can agree on candidate selection, it can play an important role in resisting the oligarchization of allied movement-based parties.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2016

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  • Comparative Politics is an international journal that publishes scholarly articles devoted to the comparative analysis of political institutions and behavior. It was founded in 1968 to further the development of comparative political theory and the application of comparative theoretical analysis to the empirical investigation of political issues. Comparative Politics communicates new ideas and research findings to social scientists, scholars, and students, and is valued by experts in research organizations, foundations, and consulates throughout the world.
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