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Parties and Society in Mexico and Venezuela: Why Competition Matters

Michael Coppedge
Comparative Politics
Vol. 25, No. 3 (Apr., 1993), pp. 253-274
DOI: 10.2307/422245
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/422245
Page Count: 22
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Parties and Society in Mexico and Venezuela: Why Competition Matters
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Abstract

Despite skepticism about democracy in developing countries, one essential component of democracy—party competition—makes a difference, even at the grass roots, even in democracies that are far from perfect. Comparison of the ties between political parties and other organizations in a dominant-party system (Mexico) and a competitive party system (Venezuela) shows striking similarities in the articulation of parties with other organizations in three arenas: organized labor, rural communities, and urban barrios. In each arena, however, party competition makes local leaders in Venezuela less abusive and more respectful of their clients' property, persons, and opinions than Mexican local leaders are. Competition also encourages governmental responsiveness and moderate opposition at the national level, as well as peaceful evolution of the political system.

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