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The Problem of Single-Party Predominance in an Unconsolidated Democracy: The Example of Argentina

  • Leslie E. Anderson (a1)

Abstract

Parties can be a crucial to democratic function but not all parties or party systems are democratic. Some parties are fully competitive within a pluralist system while others, notably hegemonic parties, are antithetical to democracy. Between competitive, pluralist party systems and hegemonic party systems lie predominant party systems. These are compatible with democracy where democracy is fully consolidated but inhibit democratic consolidation in settings with an authoritarian history or where the rule of law is incomplete. The effect of predominant parties in unconsolidated democracies has not been fully studied in comparative context. I scrutinize this problem in Argentina, which has followed an electoral calendar for two decades, but lacks a fully pluralist system of power-sharing among two nationally-competitive parties. The authoritarian background of Peronism, of Argentina itself and the limited competitive potential of the Radical Party have curtailed democratic development. The article underscores the seriousness of Argentina's dilemma by contrasting its situation with Democratic Party predominance in the United States Deep South in the 1940s. The comparison of democratic development in an older democracy with that of a newer democracy illustrates that some of the processes of consolidation are similar and that the experience of older democracies may indicate possible solutions for newer democracies.

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The Problem of Single-Party Predominance in an Unconsolidated Democracy: The Example of Argentina

  • Leslie E. Anderson (a1)

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