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What drives authoritarian party to party interaction? The Chinese Communist Party and African ruling parties

Africa
China
Democratisation
Julia Bader
University of Amsterdam
Christine Hackenesch
German Development Institute
Julia Bader
University of Amsterdam
Christine Hackenesch
German Development Institute

Abstract

Since the early 2000s interaction between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and almost all African ruling parties have increased considerably. At the same time, the intensity of interaction varies considerably: While the CCP's interaction with some parties such as the South African ANC, the Namibia SWAPO or the Ethiopian EPRDF is very close, cooperation with many other ruling parties is less intense. Existing literature on authoritarianism acknowledges the role of parties for regime stability, longevity and economic prosperity. However, research on authoritarian parties is domestic in focus and has hardly investigated the external relations of such parties and their interaction with, and learning from authoritarian parties elsewhere. Meanwhile, research on democracy promotion has recently rediscovered the importance of support for parties for democratic transition or consolidation, but this body of research generally focuses on Western party support. Building on a new dataset on the Chinese Communist Party’s interaction with African ruling parties, we investigate how the CCP's cooperation with African ruling parties has evolved since the early 2000s and we examine the drivers of authoritarian party-to-party relations.