Dados vol. 58 n. 3 Rio de Janeiro jul./set. 2015

Party Nationalization and Electoral Strategies in Coalition Presidentialism

Borges, André


This article explores the role of presidential elections and federalism in the nationalization of parties in Brazilian coalition presidentialism. It is argued that the strategic response of parties given the nationalizing incentives of presidential elections tends to vary significantly in multi-level systems, especially in the presence of a gubernatorial coattail effect. While some parties are successful in mobilizing the national electorate through “presidentialization” other groups may be capable of obtaining votes nationally for reasons that are unrelated to the cycle of presidential elections, concentrating efforts on gubernatorial elections. Using comparative and statistical analyses party strategies it was concluded that a combination between federalism and electoral coordination through bargaining within alliances allows the survival of provincialized parties that become national through national and sub-national strategies that are weakly integrated. This, in turn, minimalizes the potential systemic effects of the PT-PSDB bi-polarity in national elections.

Keywords: party nationalizations, presidential elections, coalition presidentialism, federalism, coattail effect

DOI: 10.1590/00115258201555

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Party Nationalization and Electoral Strategies in Coalition Presidentialism