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date: 30 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Are party systems in Muslim-majority societies different from those in non-Muslim-majority societies? If so, how—and more importantly, why? Cross-national time-series data demonstrate that party systems in Muslim-majority countries are consistently less competitive, less open, and less institutionalized than party systems in non-Muslim-majority countries. This chapter synthesizes existing theories of party system formation to argue that the traits of party systems in Muslim-majority countries are best explained by both shared experiences and systematic variation in historical developments related to colonialism and the path dependence of institutions, rather than by the political institutions prescribed by Islamic tenets. The chapter concludes by outlining a series of unanswered questions about the differences between party systems in Muslim-majority and non-Muslim-majority societies.

Keywords: Muslim-majority societies, party systems, religion and politics, postcolonialism, political institutions

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