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Richard R. Marcus and Adrien M. Ratsimbaharison, "Political Parties in Madagascar: Neopatrimonial Tools or Democratic Instruments?" Party Politics, 11 (July, 2005), 495-512.

First Paragraph:
This article examines the challenge of converting political parties from tools of neopatrimonial rule to instruments of democratic governance in Madagascar, an emerging yet fragile democracy in Africa. Political parties are commonly defined by their ability to recruit candidates, mobilize the electorate in support of a candidate, structure interests, represent various social groups, form governments, and aggregate interests. While all political parties help to maintain political leaders in office, those that do so to the exclusion of these democracy-enhancing functions become tools for neopatrimonial rule. In Madagascar, major political parties have been created largely by elites vying for power. They have been manipulated to act as nexus for political patronage towards the maintenance of power. As in most African countries, political parties in Madagascar originated in the nationalist movements that emerged after World War II to win independence from colonial rule. They flourished and proliferated under more favorable conditions after World War II and in the early years of independence, but the subsequent imposition of authoritarian rule short-circuited their political development. This history laid the foundation for the personalization of party politics.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Presidential results (in percentages) by provinces
Table 2. Distribution of National Assembly seats by party and province

Last Paragraph:
In all these respects, Madagascar exemplifies many emerging democracies with hybrid regimes in which reconstituted patterns of authoritarian rule are anchored in formal, and often internationally sanctioned, multiparty elections. These elections are not entirely meaningless, because they do provide opportunities for participation in rapidly shifting coalitions, but the very rapidity of these shifts, as well as the diversity of groups they encompass and accommodate, limits the prospects of government stability as well as the democratic development of political parties. Instead of encouraging political parties to articulate systematic programs for mobilizing popular support, creating opportunities for expanded political participation, and the recruitment of new leaders, these elections reduce political parties to serving as handmaidens for the perpetuation of personal rule.