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Abstract

Political parties enhance democracy because of their role in recruiting candidates, mobilizing the electorate, articulating, aggregating and representing conflicting interests in society, and forming governments and making policies. Political parties also help maintain political leaders in power, but those that do so to the exclusion of the democracy-enhancement functions become tools for neopatrimonial rule. In Madagascar, political parties have historically served as tools of neopatrimonial rule and not as instruments of democracy. This article first examines the roots of political parties in Madagascar to clarify why they have taken this form, and then assesses the direction of the newly formed Tiako i Madagasikara (TIM) and its potential for overcoming the country's neopatrimonial legacy in favor of enhancing its new and fragile democracy.
... Besides AREMA, two other noteworthy parties emerged on the Madagascar scene: Albert Zafy's Hery Velona and Marc Ravalomanana's TIM somehow built their strengths on their leaders' neopatrimonial networks (Marcus & Ratsimbaharison, 2005). Being essentially an "electoralist catch-all party", the authoritarian regime Hery Velona suffered from serious "internal heterogeneity" and lacked a coherent ideology, which impeded stable government (Marcus & Ratsimbaharison, 2005, pp. ...
... Ravalomanana as a candidate, and of his party. Before Ravalomanana entered 9 Zafy used the referendum to gain the right to appoint the Prime Minister, and to weaken provincial power to the benefit of the central government (Marcus & Ratsimbaharison, 2005;Thibaut, 1999). 10 The term côtier designates other ethnicities than the Merina, which is the dominant and historically advantaged ethnic group (Allen & Covell, 2005). ...
... Traditionally, such breadth of coverage has been problematic for many candidates. The island's size and the lack of an efficient transport system has made it very difficult for every contender to campaign in every province, and it made this millionaire's personal helicopter a useful asset (Marcus & Ratsimbaharison, 2005;Moser, 2004, p. 8). In an attempt to skew the playing field, Ratsiraka increased the candidacy fees, making it very difficult for smaller/independent candidates to participate (Marcus, 2004, pp. ...
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Party systems are expected to grow and mature with time; however, the case of Madagascar is one of high fluidity: parties and leaders rise and fall from one election to the next and there is a low entry cost for new contenders. This study explores the role of authoritarian legacies and elites’ efforts to skew the playing field as key factors for understanding why the Malagasy party system has failed to institutionalise since the start of the Third Republic. The findings show how leadership centralisation, ethnicity, personalism and clientelism shaped party formation during the authoritarian era and beyond; and also how incumbents’ attempts to create asymmetries in access to resources, media and law have been ineffective and successfully countervailed by the opposition.
... 48 Marcus and Ratsimbaharison also draw the conclusion that the Malagasy political parties were generally weak, hardly institutionalized, and used by political leaders "as tools of patrimonial rule and not as instruments of democracy." 49 With regard to the legislature, the major factor crippling its effectiveness was the ever increasing power of the successive presidents. Traditionally, Madagascar inherited a "monarchic conception of power," 50 which led to constitutionally powerful presidents, described by some analysts as "Monarchic Presidents" 51 or presidents with "near-imperial role." ...
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Madagascar’s 3rd Republic (1992-2009) was classified by Freedom House as “partly free” or electoral democracy. However, instead of moving up to the status of liberal democracy (free), this electoral democracy reverted to an outright autocracy in 2009, when Andry Rajoelina, with the help of the military, overthrew the democratically elected president Marc Ravalomanana. Madagascar’s short-lived democracy reminds us of the importance of democratic consolidation for the new democracies emerging from the “Third Wave” of democratization. The purpose of this article is to identify the major obstacles and challenges to democratic consolidation in a poor and divided country, like Madagascar. Building on Larry Diamond’s three generic tasks of democratic consolidation, this article finds that, instead of consolidating, Madagascar’s electoral democracy actually started to deteriorate in 2002, before its sudden death in 2009; and that, among other factors, the major obstacle to democratic consolidation was the ever-increasing power of the successive presidents, who had been characterized as “Monarchic Presidents.” In line with these findings, the major challenge to democratic consolidation in this country is to constrain the presidential power, in order to make the president a “regular citizen,” or at least a “first among equal citizens,” and not a “father-and-mother of the country.”
... 48 Marcus and Ratsimbaharison also draw the conclusion that the Malagasy political parties were generally weak, hardly institutionalized, and used by political leaders "as tools of patrimonial rule and not as instruments of democracy." 49 With regard to the legislature, the major factor crippling its effectiveness was the ever increasing power of the successive presidents. Traditionally, Madagascar inherited a "monarchic conception of power," 50 which led to constitutionally powerful presidents, described by some analysts as "Monarchic Presidents" 51 or presidents with "near-imperial role." ...
Article
Full-text available
Madagascar’s 3rd Republic (1992-2009) was classified by Freedom House as “partly free” or electoral democracy. However, instead of moving up to the status of liberal democracy (free), this electoral democracy reverted to an outright autocracy in 2009, when Andry Rajoelina, with the help of the military, overthrew the democratically elected president Marc Ravalomanana. Madagascar’s short-lived democracy reminds us of the importance of democratic consolidation for the new democracies emerging from the “Third Wave” of democratization. The purpose of this article is to identify the major obstacles and challenges to democratic consolidation in a poor and divided country, like Madagascar. Building on Larry Diamond’s three generic tasks of democratic consolidation, this article finds that, instead of consolidating, Madagascar’s electoral democracy actually started to deteriorate in 2002, before its sudden death in 2009; and that, among other factors, the major obstacle to democratic consolidation was the ever-increasing power of the successive presidents, who had been characterized as “Monarchic Presidents.” In line with these findings, the major challenge to democratic consolidation in this country is to constrain the presidential power, in order to make the president a “regular citizen,” or at least a “first among equal citizens,” and not a “father-and-mother of the country.”
... . Dans ce contexte, un parti politique peut servir à connecter les différents niveaux d'un système politique par l'intermédiaire d'une série de réseaux patron-client. C'est la méthode utilisée par le parti de Didier Ratsiraka, Antoky ny Revolisiona Malagasy-Avant-garde de la Révolution malgache, entre 1975 et 1992, puis encore une fois entre 1997 et 2001 : un outil personnel pour gérer les réseaux clientélistes, prenant appui sur les liens familiaux23 .Le clientélisme et l'ethnicité, d'un point de vue conceptuel, sont des phénomènes qui « s'appuient sur des liens fondamentalement différents de solidarité ; le clientélisme faisant appel à une relation personnalisée alors que l'ethnicité est intrinsèquement un phénomène de groupe. Ainsi, il n'y a pas de motif valable de s'attendre à des variations concomitantes entre les solidarités ethniques et les solidarités client-patron24 . ...
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Understanding parties and party systems in Africa The introduction of democratic reforms in the 1990s sparked a resurgence of multipartism in Africa, which entailed a discontinuity in both the continent’s politics and in its study. A wave of new analyses was produced that were largely based on established political science. What results and advances were obtained ? What are the key issues raised by the return of party pluralism in Africa ? What is the utility of existing models, theories and approaches for its understanding ? While recent research efforts unquestionably advanced our knowledge of the changing politics of the continent, neither side of the balance – the elaboration of theoretical frameworks and the detail of empirical knowledge – has achieved adequate levels of development as yet.
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This paper advances a synthesized theory that ethnic party institutional preference for clientelistic exchanges is a causal determinant in weaker programmatic connections. I use an elite focused mixed-method approach with a quantitative survey of over 506 separate political parties along with an inductive case study of SWAPO in Namibia. The data show that ethnic party endogeneity to clientelism is a causal factor in the general underdevelopment of ethnic programmatic linkages.
Chapter
This chapter situates the book’s arguments about party formation, party trajectories, presidential turnover, and party loyalty and defection within the social science and African studies literature. It situates the research and its claims within two social science literatures, one on competitive authoritarianism, and another on party-building and party functions in developing countries. It also describes how the arguments in each book chapter improve or refine extant theories, findings, and assumptions about party politics, which are often rooted in accounts based on Western experiences and sequences of political and economic development. In particular, the chapter highlights how analyzing party-building dynamics on the uneven playing field, a hallmark of competitive authoritarianism, contributes to our understanding of why politicians would form parties that are not election-oriented but nevertheless find them worthwhile vehicles for political advancement, as is sometimes the case in Senegal. It also helps us account for proliferation, which theories of party-building in democracies and dominant-party autocracies do not predict.
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This article proposes revisions to the theory of political transitions by analyzing patterns of recent popular challenges to neopatrimonial rule in Africa. The approach is explicitly comparative, based on contrasts between Africa and the rest of the world and among regimes within Africa itself. Arguing against the prevalent view that transitions unfold unpredictably according to the contingent interplay of key political actors, the authors contend that the structure of the preexisting regime shapes the dynamics and sometimes even the outcomes of political transitions. They find that in contrast to transitions from corporatist regimes, transitions from neopatrimonial rule are likely to be driven by social protest, marked by struggles over patronage, and backed by emerging middle classes. Following Dahl, the authors compare African regimes on the basis of the degree of formal political participation and competition allowed. They find that regime variants—personal dictatorship, military oligarchy, plebiscitary one-party regime, and competitive one-party regime—are associated with distinctive transition dynamics. Whereas transitions from military oligarchies are typically managed from the top down and are relatively orderly, transitions from plebiscitary systems often occur discordantly through confrontational national conferences. A consolidated democracy is least likely to result from the abrupt collapse of a personal dictatorship and is most likely, though never guaranteed, from a graduated transition from a competitive one-party regime. In general, getting to democracy is problematic from all regimes that lack institutional traditions of political competition.
Article
The 1990s witnessed the beginning of a tortuous process of transition in Madagascar, from a planned to a liberal economy and from an authoritarian political regime to democracy. The final act of the transition was the presidential election of 16 December 2001 which pitted Admiral Didier Ratsiraka, aged 69, in power for some 25 years, against a businessman, Marc Ravalomanana, whose only political experience was as mayor of the capital city, Antananarivo, for just two years. The first round of voting resulted in a deep disagreement. Ravalomanana, basing his argument on figures compiled by his own support committee, argued that he had won an absolute majority and that therefore he was the outright winner of the election, unless Ratsiraka would agree to a vote count in which official figures were compared with unofficial ones. Ratsiraka's refusal led to a crisis lasting for six months, which threatened to plunge the country into a civil war. Despite the hesitancy of an international community that found it difficult to choose between supporting one candidate whose argument was based on legitimacy and another who based his case on legality, the crisis ended with a victory for Ravalomanana, who was proclaimed president with majority support in the army. Legislative elections held on 15 December 2002 should give the new government a solid base.