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Coordinating the Competition, Pre-electoral Coalitions in the Indian General Elections

Andersen, Christiane Bjerglund; (2020) Coordinating the Competition, Pre-electoral Coalitions in the Indian General Elections. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The number and variety of pre-electoral coalitions in the Indian general elections make India a prime case to examine why parties chose to join forces with their rivals during elections. Yet, existing theories, which emphasise narrow definitions of party size and shared ideology, are unable to explain the tangled alliances that emerge between Indian political parties. In order to examine why parties pursue certain pre-electoral coalitions, I employ a mixed-methods strategy that combines statistical network analysis (exponential random graph models) with case study analysis, using a new dataset of pre-electoral coalitions 1999-2014. The network analysis suggests that pre-electoral coalitions in India are driven by the parties’ wish to increase their odds of winning in particular constituencies and, to a smaller degree, their wish to combine their parliamentary strength afterwards. The analysis also suggests that the network structure of the party system has a significant impact on pre- electoral coalition formation in that parties are attracted to ‘high-connector parties’ that allow them to form indirect alliances with a number of parties, and that parties build denser, regional coalitions that allow smaller parties to buy leverage against bigger allies. Finally, even though pre-electoral coalitions in India appear highly changeable, parties are more likely to renew an existing pre-electoral coalition than to build a new one. I explore the implications of the network analysis in three case studies, namely a pre- electoral coalition that took place as the model predicted (a true positive case), one that did not take pace despite being predicted (a false positive case), and one that took place despite not being predicted (a false negative case). The case studies corroborate the statistical findings but also demonstrate that network structures can both encourage and hinder pre-electoral coalitions.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Coordinating the Competition, Pre-electoral Coalitions in the Indian General Elections
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
Keywords: party politics, elections, pre-electoral elections, India, coalition politics, political parties
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10072989
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