Old parties and new democracies - Do they bring out the best in one another? Academic Article uri icon


  • The democratization literature suggests a country's chances of successfully democratizing are improved by having an institutionalized party system that evolved before the recent authoritarian period. However, the conditions under which old parties established in previous democratic, quasi-democratic or authoritarian periods will benefit a new democracy have not been explored. If a party engaged in undemocratic behavior in the past, such as military alliances, election rigging or internal procedures that denied rank-and-file members chances for meaningful participation, then it may bring these undemocratic behavior patterns into the new democratic regime. The traditional parties in Argentina, Honduras, Panama, Peru and Uruguay are used to explore when parties bring undemocratic past behavior patterns into a new democratic regime, thereby hindering consolidation. These cases show that parties which experienced harsh treatment under an authoritarian regime are unlikely to continue authoritarian tactics such as military alliances and election fraud. However, traditional parties resist changing closed internal procedures that they utilized in the past, and thus cannot be relied upon to provide the mass public with opportunities for political participation beyond voting.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Taylor-Robinson, M. M.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Taylor-Robinson, MM

publication date

  • January 2001