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Michael Buehler, "Revisiting the inclusion-moderation thesis in the context of decentralized institutions: The behavior of Indonesia's Prosperous Justice Party in national and local politics," Party Politics, 19 (March 2013), 210-229. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol19/issue2/ ]

First paragraph:
Institutions figure prominently in explanations for why radical parties successfully integrate into the mainstream when included in politics. In a system in which one needs a majority (or a certain proportion) of the votes to realize political goals, electoral institutions encourage radical parties to adjust their agendas to broaden the range of supporters. This was argued for socialist parties in Western Europe (Przeworski, 1980: 40-44), workers' parties in Latin America (Keck, 1992: 154-166) and religious parties, including Catholic (Kalyvas, 1998, 2000) and Islamist parties (Tezcur, 2010), all competing in democratic elections. Institutional features said to nudge parties in more moderate directions are, among others, a political context that favors political insiders over outsiders (Kalyvas, 1998: 309), and a high electoral threshold (Tezcur and Kunkler, 2010: 2). Arguably, the degree of institutional discretion over policy formulation also influences whether parties become more moderate when included in politics. The main idea encapsulated in this literature is summarized by Kalyvas (1998: 296), who argued that parties abandon radical agendas because of the 'the strategic pursuit of their interests under certain institutional conditions'.1 Radical parties, in other words, may not necessarily become more moderate ideologically, but will adjust their behavior in accordance with institutional incentives (Kalyvas, 2000; Share and Mainwaring, 1986: 175).

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Different institutional incentives for moderation in national and local politics.
Table 2. PKS coalitions in local executive head elections, 2005-2008.

Last Paragraph:
These findings lead to several questions that need to be addressed in future research. If the formation of a party shapes its long-term development, are certain parties more likely to become more moderate than others from the outset? A comparison of PKS with other Islamic parties in Indonesia, thereby holding the institutional setting constant, could shed light on this question. Furthermore, the PKS leadership achieved behavioral moderation across its party apparatus and institutional layers by imposing a new course on lower party rungs in a rather authoritarian manner. Future research will have to show whether this will also lead to ideological moderation within the party. A recent article stated that behavioral moderation can only lead to ideological moderation through 'a process of engaging in debates about ideological commitments - and collectively agreeing to adhere to the outcome of internal votes on the substantive issues being debated . . . ' (Schwedler, 2011: 360; my emphasis). However, it is far from clear whether PKS's moderate course is unsustainable, because it was imposed on parts of the party. A long-term study of PKS's local branches would be an opportunity for future research on whether ideological moderation can occur even if a majority of party members are being excluded from internal debates. Overall, the examination of PKS's path towards behavioral moderation over the past decade has shown that socio-structural factors play an important role in moderation processes and should therefore be examined further in accounts of the inclusion-moderation thesis in democratic settings.

Last updated March 2013