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Title: The implications of the electoral system for party competition in West Malaysia, 1982-2004
Author: Wong, C. H.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2711 5828
Awarding Body: The University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2011
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Taking a Rational Choice Institutionalist approach, this thesis argues that the Single Member Plurality (SMP) elections have contributed to the thriving of electoral one-party state in Malaysia. Analysing six consecutive elections from 1982 to 2004, it examines the implications of the electoral system for the formation of party system in West Malaysia - the political core of Malaysia- from four aspectsr: eductiono f nationalp arties,r eductiono f constituencyp arties, programmatic competition and particularistic competition. Based on Cox's "M+1" rule of party reduction, it explains the under-reduction of national parties and over-reduction of constituency parties. While the winner-takes-all character of SMP electionsn ormally forcesp olitical playerst o coalescein to two camps,M alaysiah adt wo oppositionp arties- representingth e Malays andn on-Malaysr espectively- for most of the years. The winner-takes-all character of the electoral system had been so strong that the opposition saw no prospect of winning the executive power and no incentive to form a coalition. Meanwhile, at the constituency level, ethnically-mixed constituencies often returned the ruling coalition candidates with large margin, resulting in monopartism rather than bipartism. Until the majority is larger than two-third to ensure a united minority cannot emerge as the plurality winner, driven by ethnici nsecurity,t hey would ratherc oncentrateth eir voteso n onec andidateth at represents their ethnic interests. SMP elections are often credited for middle-ground politics but the divided opposition parties in Malaysia often occupied the flank positions. An analysis into party manifestos shows that political parties did indeed move to the centre as they form coalition, but only when the opposition could see the prospect of winning. Lastly, this thesis tries to assess the significance of particularistic competition but cannot find evidences for phenomena like personal vote and incumbency effect. This is perhaps because particularistic competition in Malaysia is more party-based than individual-based.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available