Moderation of Religious Parties: Electoral Constraints, Ideological Commitments, and the Democratic Capacities of Religious Parties in Israel and Turkey

By Tepe, Sultan | Political Research Quarterly, September 2012 | Go to article overview

Moderation of Religious Parties: Electoral Constraints, Ideological Commitments, and the Democratic Capacities of Religious Parties in Israel and Turkey


Tepe, Sultan, Political Research Quarterly


Abstract

Whether religious parties' inclusion in electoral competition moderates or polarizes their positions remains an enigma as deductive accounts yield contradictory results. This analysis questions the institution- and ideology-centered approaches to party change and shows that dichotomizing religious parties as moderate or extreme and moderation as a monolithic process obscures religious parties' role in democracy. When scholars view moderation as consisting of behavioral and ideological dimensions and examine it through an inductive analysis of Israel and Turkey's religious parties, several modes of moderation emerge with different democratic outcomes. While some bolster procedural democracy, others thwart the expansion of liberal democracy.

Keywords

moderation, elections, party transformation, democratization, religious parties, liberal rights, religion and liberal democracy, Israel, Turkey

The growing electoral success of religious parties and the establishment of their roles as pivotal agents in countries ranging from Japan to India pose some crucial political science puzzles with important policy implications. Are religious parties Janus-faced agents of democracy? Does their ascendancy undermine democracy in their respective countries and the expansion of liberal democracy in the broader world? Is electoral competition a cure for the radicalism of religious parties? Does their participation in electoral competition moderate their political views or induce them to adopt more extremist positions? Can the inclusion of religious parties into the electoral process be seen as strengthening democratic capital globally in general and that of the Middle East in particular?

While these questions have become more critical to understanding politics in many countries, beneath the plurality of views, two competing frameworks have emerged to explain how religious parties change and affect their respective democracies. One such prevalent approach contends that religious parties' primary commitments are to their respective doctrines and thus their role in a democracy hinges on the role of democratic ideas in their respective religions; religious parties are more likely to maintain uncompromising positions on issues informed by their religious doctrines even when they accept the basic rules of democracy. Such analyses ask if a given religious doctrine is compatible with democracy, and some warn that allowing religious parties to participate in electoral competition can amount to tolerating undemocratic actors for the sake of democracy, thereby endangering the very future of democracy (Tibi 1996; Kramer 1996). On the other hand, the second framework contends that democratic bargaining and strategic actions induced by external actors and institutions, not ideological commitments, force religious parties to become tamed agents of democracy. Beneath this argument lies the assertion that all participants in a democracy, once they are engaged in electoral competition, change one way or another and come to accept not only the procedures but also the principles of democracy (Kalyvas 1996; Przeworski 1991).1 Democracy can happen without democrats, and democratic ideologies are often not the main ingredient but rather a by-product of democratic electoral competition.

A review of the extant debates reveals that two dominant hypotheses inform our analyses:

Hypothesis 1: It is the ideologies of religious parties (internal factors) that define whether these parties can be moderate or not; because of their unquestionable commitment to religious ideas, many religious ideologies are not easily amenable to democratic interpretation (ideologycentered analyses).2

Hypothesis 2: It is the strategic bargaining of the elite, the positions of the contesting actors, and the political opportunity structure (external factors) that define whether religious parties can be moderate after entering electoral politics (institution- and behavior-centered analyses). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Moderation of Religious Parties: Electoral Constraints, Ideological Commitments, and the Democratic Capacities of Religious Parties in Israel and Turkey
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.