Elusive Democracy

The Decay of One-Party Rule
The Congress, Liberal
Democratic, and Chinese
 Origins and StructuresParties
– Congress and CCP have origins in Nationalist
movements, have been led charismatic leaders, but have differed in their
commitments to multi-party democracy
The Congress Party – Dominated politics from Swaraj to 1967 – India a one party
dominant system until BJP won plurality in the Lok Sabha in the 1990s –
Congress aggregated followers interests – Goals of party could be divided on
policy but built consensus on staying in power – tensions emerged between
forces of change and tradition
The Chinese Communist Party – Unlike Congress controlled party membership
and made internal cohesion a higher priority – CCP membership a path to better
educational and job opportunities – Relatively small proportion of population –
Recent recruitment efforts have focused on increasing the number of educated
individuals within the party – Development of wealth with economic reforms
created alternative sources of opportunities and influence – Jiang Zemin reforms
focused on bringing these new sources of power and influence into the party
The Liberal Democratic Party – LDP successfully aggregated interests from the
1950’s to 1990’s – Conservative parties merged in 1955 to create LDP as bulwark
against unification of Socialists parties
Intraparty Factionalism
LDP Factions – Factions emphasized loyalty and line members up on the basis of
superior-inferior with one person being on top of the hierarchy – koenkai are
local support groups for factions – Koizumi bypassed factions weakening their
influence but factions remain a part of the Japanese political system
Congress Party Factions – Traditional values have supported factions – factions
expanded to maintain power and expanded across class and caste – Unlike her
father, Indira Gandhi did not successfully mediate factional struggles and split
the party – after 1999 with succession of Rajiv Gandhi’s widow, Sonia to lead the
party Congress “was no longer a party but an undifferentiated, unanchored
medley of individuals sustained by patronage
CCP Factions – Lowell Dittmer describes 1980s as era of Elite conflicts
culminating with the sacking of Zhao Ziyang in 1989 – Jing Huang identified
factions being associated with decentralized base area during Chinese Civil War –
Mishu – Guangxi – problem of corruption
Factionalism, Party Stability, and Decline – Splits lead to decline of one party
rule – Kanemaru Shin’s factions disintegration led to first non LDP government
in Japan – 1993 – Factions officially prohibited in CCP but interest groups are
Japan: Parties of the Left and
Socialists and Communists – Japanese Socialist Party founded in 1945 – split 1951 over peace
treaty with U.S. – reunited 1955 – split in 1960 over factional issues – Opposition in 1970s-80s with
20% of vote in Diet elections – better in some local elections – gained seats in 1989 House of
Councillors elections - transformed itself into the Japanese Social Democratic Party 1991 -1996
and joined coalition government in 1994 – abandoned opposition to Self Defense Forces – made
some gains in getting compensation for atomic bomb victims and comfort women – Japanese
Communist Party established in 1922 – never did better than 12% of votes in Diet elections –
bellwether of voter dissatisfaction with establishment parties – Both left wing parties have
declining memberships and aging leadership
Buddhists and “Democrats” in the Floating Center – Komeito established in mid 1960s as offshoot
of Soka Gakkai as a political party hoping to infuse Buddhist values into politics – voters included
less educated, low income, and female voters – joined Hosokawa government in coalition in 1993
and Shinshinto in mid 1990s – Party reestablished as New Komeito in 1999 and have been
coalition partner for LDP-led governments – Religious Corporation Law passed in 1995 as possible
attack on Soka Gakkai’s links to New Komeito
The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) – Democratic Party of Japan was created in the 90s as an
offshoot of an LDP faction led by Ozawa Ichiro – reorganized in 2003 by combining with small
liberal party – 5 different Presidents between 2003 -2008 – Won majority in House of Councillors in
2007 – LDP replaced by DPJ in 2009
India: The BJP – From
Opposition to Coalition
 Over 50 parties contested 2009 Lok Sabha Elections
 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – Established 1980 – emphasize
cultural themes (Hindutva and swadeshi) – High point in Lok
Sabha elections with 25.6% of vote – support heavily
concentrated in North, west, and central states – strengths
include clearly stated principles, cohesiveness of organization
and probity, grassroots mobilization, and ability to exploit
religious sentiments – anti-minority, Chauvinistic party – lost
leadership of governing coalition to Congress in 2004 elections –
largest opposition party to Congress
 Coalition Partners: Class, Caste, and Region – Coalition parties a
fact of life for the future – Communist Party of India and
Communist Party of India Marxist are two durable parties along
with other culture/language and caste based parties
Coalition Politics
 Parties moderate platforms to hold coalitions
 Prime Minister Vajpayee held back on legislation
to permit construction and held hard line
positions on foreign policy issues to meet needs
of coalitions
 Even under one of Japan’s strongest Prime
Ministers, Junichiro Koizumi, immobilism
occurred in Japan preventing needed economic
China’s Other Parties
 Democratic parties under the leadership of the
Communist party are part of Chinese Constitution –
Reinforced in 1993 by National People’s Congress
Eight small democratic parties with pre-1949 roots
CCP ideology, Confucian tradition and commitment
to harmony and bad experience with multi-party
style democracy are impediments to development of
a genuine multi-party system
Chinese Democratic Party found in 1998 but by the
end of 1999 its leaders were in jail under charges for
trying to overthrow the government
NPC reaffirmed CCPs monopoly on power in 2009
Election Dynamics
 FPTP in India – First past the post electoral system in Lok
Sabha benefits Congress – it is possible for a party to win
more seats than votes – in 1999 this dynamic benefited BJP
at Congresses expense
 Controversy in Japan – Multi-member districts believed to
perpetuate factionalism and money in politics – 1996 house
election system used single member districts/ proportional
representation system with 300 SMC seats and 200 PR
 Local Elections in China – Local elections meant to enhance
legitimacy and credibility of one party system – 1979, 1987,
and 1998 election laws produced – What expectations do
voters bring to these elections – elections may lead to
corruption or to strengthening the rule of law
 Self-interest, corruption, and factionalism
have stifled governance in India, Japan, and
 Local election open promise for China
 Multi-party elections in India give voice to
 Japan has maintained a model of multiparty
democracy despite immobilism

similar documents