New party persistence and failure: A comparative analysis of Colombia's M-19 Democratic Alliance and Venezuela's Radical Cause

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


International Studies

First Committee Member

Bruce M. Bagley, Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Enrique Baloyra, Committee Member


Using a "most similar case" design, the experiences of two new political parties--the Alianza Democratica M-19 (M-19 Democratic Alliance, or AD M-19) and the Causa Radical (Radical Cause, or Causa R)--were compared to determine which combination of contingent variables appeared to favor persistence, or consolidation. The AD M-19's failure as a political party was deemed to be due to its nearly non-existent internal organization (particularly at the local level), the lack of an ideological leader, and the absence of an economic crisis. Causa R, conversely, possesses a fairly coherent organization and ground-up structure, has an ideologue as its principal leader, and has benefitted from an almost permanent state of economic crisis in Venezuela since 1983. Electoral rules were found to be unimportant as an explanatory variable. A brief examination of three additional cases tended to confirm the initial findings.


History, Latin American; Political Science, General

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