The costs of party formation potentially alter representation and change electoral dynamics before allocation rules come into play. Furthermore, the interaction of formation rules and demographic conditions occasionally produces in new democracies unintended effects on representation that are quite distinct from the effects of other electoral barriers. Currently, however, the literature does not systematically consider the role that institutions play in party formation and party survival in new democracies. This article considers the theoretical importance of formation rules on representation in the context of party-system development. The principal hypothesis proposed is that, while not a sufficient condition for the emergence of separate ethnic political parties, elimination of spatial registration rules, which mandate registration that exceeds the group’s geographic distribution, is a necessary condition. Comparative evidence from Bolivia, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and a detailed case study of Ecuador suggests that pre-election spatial registration rules do, indeed, contribute to the general explanation of a lack of indigenous parties in countries with large mobilized indigenous groups. Two supplementary hypotheses and anecdotal evidence from the above countries address the effects of non-spatial pre-election requirements and post-election requirements.
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Jóhanna Kristín Birnir is assistant professor at the University at Buffalo-SUNY. Her research focuses on Latin American and East European party systems, with an emphasis on the effect of institutions and the electoral behavior of social groups. Professor Birnir is currently revising the manuscript for “The Ethnic Effect,” a book about the effect of ethnicity on democratic electoral politics, and her articles are forthcoming inComparative Political Studies andThe Journal of Engineering and Technology Management.
The research for this paper was partially funded by a Tinker grant, and grants from the Latin American Center and center of International Studies and Overseas Programs at UCLA. I wish to thank the vice president of TNE, Eduardo Villaquiran; Felipe Burbano de Lara at FLACSO; and Diego Jarrin Hurtado at SIISE for help with the research in Ecuador. For help with my research in Peru, I thank the president of ONPE, Fernando Tuesta Soldevilla; the president of JNE Fernando Ballón-Landa Cordóva, Maximo Torero; and the other researchers, as well as the staff at GRADE. I would also like to thank Barbara Geddes, Michael Thies, Andrés Mejía Acosta, Donna Lee Van Cott, and Raúl Madrid for valuable comments on earlier versions. I am indebted to three anonymous reviewers for excellent comments on recent drafts. Finally, I would like to thank David Waguespack for substantive as well as editorial contributions. A part of this research was presented at the Annual Conference of the American Political Science Association 1999. All omissions and errors are the author’s.
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Birnir, J.K. Stabilizing party systems and excluding segments of society?: The effects of formation costs on new party foundation in Latin America. St Comp Int Dev 39, 3–27 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02686280
- Comparative International Development
- Party System
- Indigenous Group
- Formation Cost
- Small Party