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The rise of populism? Comparing incumbent pro-Islamic parties in Turkey and Morocco

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How do pro-Islamic parties evolve during their incumbencies as opposed to their years in the opposition? Adapting a most different systems approach, this study will discuss this question by looking at the similar political evolution of two incumbent pro-Islamic parties, the AKP and the PJD, in two different political contexts, that of secular democratic Turkey and of authoritarian Morocco where the King claims Islamic legitimacy. Borrowing from the literature on populism in Europe and in Latin America, this study will test the expectations of the inclusion-moderation literature for incumbent pro-Islamic parties. It will argue that incumbent pro-Islamic parties have evolved into populist parties that (1) combine a thin-centered understanding of political Islam with other ideologies in order to consolidate their electoral appeal among diverse constituents and (2) see themselves as the representatives of a marginalized majority, adapt anti-elitism, and engage in political reforms in the name of bringing the will of the majority into power.
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Keywords: AKP; Inclusion-moderation hypothesis; PJD; democratization; political Islam; populism; pro-Islamic parties

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of International Studies, Rhodes College, Memphis, TN, USA 2: School of Law, Economics and Social Sciences – Mohammedia, Hassan II University, Casablanca, Morocco

Publication date: October 1, 2016

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