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Flashcards in Final ID Questions Deck (46)

Sultanistic authoritarianism

Sultanistic authoritarianism is when a regime is built around an individual and his family. Involves cult of personality, or glorification of the leader. With this type of authoritarianism, there is a lack of effective legitimacy and low political institutionalization. One example is Turkmenistan and its leader Saparmurat Niyazov. Saparmurat Niyazov maintained a strong cult of personality, naming cities and more after himself. Similarly in North Korea, Kim-II-Sung inaugurated the sultanistic regime and maintained a strong cult of personality. Power passed down to his son Kim-Jong-II and then to his grandson Kim-Jong-Un.


One party authoritarianism

One party authoritarianism is less common but more durable than military rule. Origins include revolution or misappropriation of power. One-party rule can also be open or disguised. The most common type is the Communist one-party regime. 20 Communist one-party regimes existed in the 1970s now only three survive (China, Vietnam, Laos). Chinese Communist Party is the dominant political force in China. At each level, executive and legislative, CCP dominates and ensures only its party members are selected.



Ruling monarchies are authoritarian regimes and there are three types: Type I = monarch holds all executive power, no legislature; Type II = monarch appoints a cabinet with limited powers, no legislature; Type III = there is a legislature and a cabinet, but the monarch still has many formal and informal ways to control political outcomes. Characteristics of a monarchy are extensive control of royal families over the state and pseudo-democratic procedures that legitimize the regime. Morocco is an example of a powerful monarchy (Type III). Mohammed VI is the King and thus he is granted formal prerogatives, and deals with foreign affairs, internal order, strategic economic decisions, and other business.


Military authoritarianism

Military authoritarianism typically derives from military coups. The military has intervened in many countries during the 20th century in moments of sociopolitical or economic instability. In the 1970s, about 1/3 of developing countries were governed by military regimes. Today, military authoritarianism exists only in about a dozen countries. Characteristics include: military governments have connections with civilian sectors of population, they have policy agenda they want to implement, they develop ties with economic elites, and their legitimacy typically evaporates quickly. An example of military authoritarianism is military regimes in South Africa....................................


Theocratic authoritarianism

Theocratic authoritarianism involves the direct or indirect rule by religious authorities. Leaders claim divine guidance to hold the authority to rule. In Iran, Khamenei is considered the supreme leader who has long had the most power. Despite being officially chaired by the president, the council rarely acts against the wishes of the supreme leader. He oversees the president and can dismiss him, appoints six main clerics in the guardian council, appoints the head of judiciary, and appoints members of the expediency council. Current president under his influence is Hassan Rouhani.



Totalitarianism is the most notorious form of authoritarian rule. It was epitomized by communist and fascist regimes of 20th century: Nazi Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union. It involves the Overhaul and control of the totality of the society.


Coming together federalism

Coming together federalism involves the bottom up bargaining process where sovereign polities come together, voluntarily give up their sovereignty to pool their resources, in order to improve collective security and achieve economic goals. Country examples are Australia, Switzerland, and the US.


Holding together federalism

Holding together federalism involves the top-down process where central government decentralizes its power to subnational government, one or more territorially based ethnic groups, to appease secessionist groups and to keep the country together. Country examples are Belgium, India, and Spain (de facto federal).


Dual federalism

Dual federalism is characteristic of national and state government operating independently, each tier acting autonomously, linked through constitutional compact. The federal government collects taxes, pays debts, provides defense, and welfare. Country example is the USA.


Cooperative federalism

Cooperative federalism is characteristic of more collaboration between levels, overall leadership of central government, national and state governments work as partners. This type aims to ensure peace by giving a share in decision making.



Devolution is the biggest measure of decentralizaition in unitary systems of government. Creation of "devolved" assemblies to answer nationalist ad regional pressures. Used in France (to create regional councils) and in the United Kingdom (Scottish Parliament and Wales Assembly).


Unitary state

A unitary state is where sovereignty resides with the "center". Lower territorial levels are created by the central government and subnational governments may make policy but are dependent on the center and often accountable to the center.


Unicameral legislatures



Bicameral legislatures



Reactive vs. proactive legislatures (Morgenstern reading)

In comparing Latin America legislatures with US Congress, Morgenstern makes the observation that Latin American legislatures tend to be "reactive", responding to initiatives from the executive branch, whereas the US Congress might be more "proactive". In Latin America, legislatures typically cannot get rid of presidents they dislike and lack the resources to fashion their own legislative proposals. Thus, they are neither originative nor proactive; they are merely reactive. The starting point for this typology is the assumption that democratic assemblies insert themselves into the policy-making process in one or more of three basic ways: 1) originative = making and breaking executives, who then shoulder most of the policy-making burden; 2) proactive = initiating and passing their own legislative proposals; 3) reactive = amending and/or vetoing executive proposals. European parliaments are the primary examples of orginative/reactive assemblies while the US Congress and the assemblies of the US states are the primary examples of proactive/reactive assemblies.


Lower and upper houses of the UK

The UK is a bicameral parliament with the lower chamber being the House of Commons (British Parliament) and upper chamber being the House of Lords. The lower chamber, House of Commons, consider and propose new laws, scrutinize government policies, debates include opposition making speeches to persuade public they have better policies. The UK public elects 650 members of Parliament every 5 years in legislative elections. The upper chamber, the House of Lords, are involved in making laws and holding government to account. They were initially composed of hereditary peers but in 1999 right of all but 92 hereditary peers' rights were abolished. Members are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the prime minister.


Lower and upper house of Germany

Germany's lower chamber is the Bundestag (The National Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany) and it's upper chamber is the Bundesrat. The Bundestag involves a mixed-member proportional system, elected by the people. The Bundesrat members are elected by assemblies of states. They can veto legislation affecting the regions as the Bundesrat represents regional interests. In totality, The Bundestag is nationally elected, all federal laws must get its approval (its the legislative body), it elects the Federal Chancellor (Prime Minister) who heads the executive branch. The Bundesrat involves regional governments appointal of 69 members to represent their state interests, they usually serve as Land cabinet members too, the Bundesrat members evaluate legislation, debate government policy, share information, can revise government proposals, and checks on "executive" power.


District magnitude

District magnitude refers to the number of legislative seats assigned to a district. It ranges from 1 (SMD) to a system where the entire country functions as a single district. District magnitude is the primary determinant of an electoral system's ability to translate votes cast into seats. Small district magnitude fosters stronger links between candidates and their local constituencies and large districts give a stronger proportionality but may reduce accountability.


Open vs. closed list



Electoral threshold

The electoral threshold is the minimum vote share required for a party to be represented in the legislature. The effect of this is the denial of representation to small parties or forcing them into coalitiions. Advantage of this is that it promotes stability in the party system whereas the disadvantage is that supporters of minor parties are disenfranchised.


Single member plurality (first past the post system)

Singe-member plurality or first-past-the post system is also called a majoritarian system in most cases. Voters simply vote for on candidate. The seat is then awarded to the candidate with the most votes (plurality). This system has a very low district magnitude (1 seat), no intra-party choice, and is used in some of the world's largest democracies (US, UK, and Canada).


Proportional representation

The aim of a proportional representation, or PR system, is to award each group is 'fair share' of representation. Voters choose a preferred party and seats are allocated to parties according to percentage of the vote that the party wins.


Run-off system

Runoff system is also known as the two-round system. If no candidate wins a majority of votes in the first round, a second round (runoff) takes place in which only certain candidates are permitted to proceed to the second round. Whoever wins the most votes in the second round is the winner. This system has a very low district magnitude (1 seat), no intra-party choice, and is employed to elect parliaments in over twenty countries (including France) and is widely used to elect presidents.


Mixed system (e.g. Germany)

In mixed systems, the voter casts two votes: one for a local constituency MP and one for a party list. A certain proportion of MPs are elected from local (usually single-member) constituencies, and the rest from party lists. In Germany, how this system works is that every voter gets two votes, the first vote allows voters to choose their candidate of choice in their district and the second vote is for the party they support. Every candidate who wins in one of the country's 299 districts (based on voters' first votes) automatically gets a seat in parliament. The rest of the Bundestag seats is allocated based on the percentage of the vote received nationwide (based on voters' second votes).


Duverger's law

Duverger's law is that the number of seats plus one equals the number of viable parties. For example, one seat plus one equals two parties and therefore the single-member plurality system is associated with a two-party system, while a PR system is associated with multiparty systems.


Presidential system

Presidential systems fall under the type of 'Separation of Powers' regimes. In this system, the head of government and head of state are fused in the office of the president. There is a separate election for the president and the legislature; therefore indpendent survival. The president is elected directly by the voters. An example of a presidential system is South Korea's 2017 elections. May 9 there were elections after the impeachment and dismissal of Park Geun-hye. Through a single round on first-past-the-post basis, Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party of Korea (Liberal) won the plurality of the votes (41.08%) with a wide margin.


Parliamentary system

In a parliamentary system there are two positions, head of government (ex: prime minister) and head of state (president). The head of government is not chosen directly by the voters, but is drawn from the legislature. Essentially, executive power is fused with legislative power.


Semi-presidential system

In semi-presidential (or hybrid) systems, executive power is shared between a president (directly elected) and prime minister (appointed by the president or directly elected). France is an example of a semi-presidential system. The President may select and dismiss other ministers with the agreement of the Prime Minister. France "Cohabitation" Example: 1968-1988 President Mitterand (left-wing) and Prime Minister Chirac (right wing)


Consociationalism (Liphart reading)

The consociational model involves crafting political institutions that guarantee power sharing among different identity groups in divided societies.


Prime Minister

In most European democracies, the Chief Executive is called the Prime Minister (In Germany or Austria: The Chancellor). Not only is the Prime Minister the head of government but the leader of the main party. Incoming prime minister needs legislative majority in the electiion: Therefore, when taking office they are able to control both legislature and executive. A Prime Minister can lose office in three different ways: 1) Election where political opponents may force an election; 2) change in the majority coalition of legislators - replacing the Prime Minister with a vote of no confidence; 3) by losing the party leadership - politically untenable to keep the Prime Minister position.


Presidentialization of parliamentary regimes

Parliamentary systems have entered a process of personalization or "presidentialization" (focus on the electoral face, the executive face, the party face). This presidentialization occurs due to the erosion of traditional social cleavages of programmatic linkages between parties and voters since the 1960s and the growing role of electronic media since the 1960s (TV and internet tend to focus on personality rather than program)


Cadre (elite) party

In a cadre or elite party, membership is largely restricted to a small group of elites during times of non-universal suffrage. It is not a professional party organization. Has an intra-parliamentary origin.


Mass party

Mass parties represent interests of previously excluded groups and built on the pre-existing organizations of that group. Originated in the second half of the 19th century in Europe and has an extra-parliamentary origin.


Catch-all party

Catch-all parties is an electoral-professional party. It is less ideologically charged.


Ideological categorization of parties in Europe



Party system

The party system refers to the overall pattern formed by the component parties, plus the interactions between them and the rules governing their conduct. A party system is essentially an institution that defines the rules for how parties behave. The party system reflects existing societal cleavages and is classified by the number of parties and the ideological polarization.


Dominant party system

In a dominant party system, one party outdistances all the others and becomes the natural party of government, albeit sometimes in coalition with junior partners. Examples include The African National Congress in South Africa (1994-present), The Congress Party in India (1947-1975), the Christian Democratic party in Italy (1946-1994), and the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan (1955-1993).


Two-party system

A two-party system is one in which two fairly equally balanced large parties dominate the party system and alternate in power. The two parties have comparable sizes and equal chances of winning elections. Alternation in power is frequent.


Multi-party system

The most common and most complex type of party sytem is the multi-party system. The number of parties ranges from three to double-digit figures. In multiparty systems, coalitions are necessary. This system could be fragmented or concentrated multiparty system (fragmented = many small parties, concentrate = small number of larger parties).


Decline of political parties

Main characteristics of the decline of political parties are that parties are becoming less effective as agents of political representation (there's a decline in party membership, a decline in partisanship, and a decline in the ability to mobilize citizens). There's also a rise of anti-establishment or anti-politics movements. The expansion of the digital media makes parties less necessary as agents of political mobilization as well (Modernization theory). Essentially there are four causes of the decline of parties: Modernization thesis, parties seen as divorced from the needs of ordinary people, citizens grow disenchanted with the parties because of their incapacity to solve complex problems, and the social identities and traditional loyalties that gave rise to parties in the first place have started to fade.


Nation (vs. state)

A nation is a collectively held political identity. There are many multinational states, and many nations that span across several states. A nation has both objective and subjective characteristics. Object features include same language, same religion, common traditions, and shared past. Subjective features include the nation as a psychological construct. A nation does not have any organizational or institutional characteristics of a state. They do not have a bureaucracy, clear membership rules, or clear boundaries. They do not possess sovereignty. Example of multinational states include Canada, Switzerland, and Belgium.



Gellner defines nationalism as "primarily a principle that holds that the political and national unit should be congruent". John Breuilly states that a nationalist argument is a political doctrine built upon three basic assertions: there exists a nation with an explicit and peculiar character, the interests and values of this nation take priority over all other interests and values, and the nation must be as independent as possible. This usually requires at least the attainment of political sovereignty.
There are five types of nationalism: Nation-building in already created states, xenophobic nationalism in nation-states, irredentism, national minorities seeking autonomy, and national minorities seeking independence.


Primordial / instrumentalist / constructivist views of identity

Primordialism sees identities as "natural" and based on objective criteria. Nations are essentially ancient, and have pro-existing religious or physical characteristics.
Instrumentalism sees identity groups as created by rational and self-interested elites. Believes that modern states were key players in the formation of national identities.
Constructivism sees identities of a complex process of social construction.


Imagined communities

Imagined communities is an idea written by Benedict Anderson that is also a "constructivist" view of the nation. He states that "members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow members...yet in the mind of each lives the image of their community". Print culture is the main element in the creation of these imagined national communites along with other elements constatntly re-creating the national community (national TV, popular culture, sporting events). Constructivist do not put so much emphasis on the role of states, they see nations as fabricated by self-interested state leaders.


Autonomy seeking nationalism

This type of nationalism seeks to reform the political system of a state to give more authority to a national minority. Example is Scotland seeking autonomy. Scotland got more autonomy in 1998 through devolution, created its own regional parliament: Scottish Parliament.


Independence seeking nationalism (e.g. Scotlad, Catalonia)

This type of nationalism seeks independence for a national minority locked within another nation state. Example is Catalonia seeking independence from Spain and Scotland from the UK. (The difference between these two independence movements is that one is recognized by the state while the other is not).