Portland State University. Department of Political Science
Melody E. Valdini
Date of Award
Master of Science (M.S.) in Political Science
1 online resource (vii, 85 pages)
More than twenty legislatures reserve a portion of seats for ethnic minority groups, often in an attempt to prevent violent conflict and redress historical oppression. The intention of reserved seats coincides with indigenous group objectives--to achieve political representation while maintaining autonomy. Yet the formation and electoral success of indigenous parties does not always follow adoption of a reserved seat system. I explain this inconsistency by taking reserved seats as a necessary but insufficient condition of indigenous party formation, and arguing that two additional conditions must be met to motivate indigenous groups to form a viable party: the failure of the existing party system to respond to group interests and the failure of grievance resolution mechanisms to fairly adjudicate disputes between indigenous groups and the state. I compare this model of indigenous party formation to three case studies--Colombia, New Zealand, and Taiwan--each with a reserved seat system for indigenous peoples but nonetheless exhibiting different levels of indigenous party formation and success. This research makes three significant contributions: it explores how indigenous groups strategically balance autonomy and participation; it suggests reconsidering how indigenous party formation and reserved seats are conceptualized by rational choice approaches; and it points to new ways of thinking about how elites can manipulate reserved seats to cultivate state legitimacy and enforce minority group assimilation.
FitzGerald, Michael, "Indigenous Party Formation and Success: The Strategic Roles of Reserved Seats, Parties, and Horizontal Accountability" (2019). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5269.