The Face of the Party: Party Leadership Selection, and the Role of Family and Faith

Vineeta Yadav, Amanda Fidalgo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Political parties in developing country democracies are often characterized by undemocratic internal party practices, including for selecting party organizational leaders. Scholars identify institutional, party-level, and demographic factors as driving such practices. In this paper, we contribute to this research by considering the effect of two personal factors—personal religiosity and membership in a political family. Politicians act in accordance with personal values and strategic incentives. We argue religiosity influences both in ways that undermine support for democratic intra-party selection practices. We hypothesize that membership in a political family increases the undemocratic effects of high religiosity because it strengthens the capacity of highly religious dynasts to access and mobilize politically through religious and family networks. This strengthens their strategic independence from their party, leading them to support undemocratic leadership selection practices. We test this prediction for the case of Turkey using original data from a 2017 survey of 200 Turkish politicians. We find that religiosity is only associated with reduced support for democratic leadership selection practices among politicians who are members of political families. This result is robust to the inclusion of party-specific effects, religious party membership, and individual characteristics including support for political Islam.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-393
Number of pages15
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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