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Accepted Paper:

Opposition political elites in an authoritarian parliament: the case of Angola  
Ana Lúcia Sá (Centre for International Studies - ISCTE-IUL)

Paper short abstract:

The paper characterizes the opposition MPs in the Angolan parliament and explores how the opposition political elite mobilize their constituencies' interests. This paper contributes to the literature on opposition elite formation in resilient authoritarian regimes with a dominant party system.

Paper long abstract:

Multiparty parliaments in authoritarian regimes are believed to have limited policy influence and to be privileged floors for co-optation strategies of the autocrat or the dominant party. The Angolan National Assembly fits this model. Angola is a presidential system with a closed-list proportional representation electoral system and a weakly institutionalized parliament where the legislative performance has been limited to the dominant party (People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola, MPLA). However, the National Assembly is the only institution in which opposition parties can publicly perform their top-rank political tasks due to their absence in executive power. Who composes the opposition political elite in Angola? How does the opposition political elite behave in the parliament and mobilize their constituencies' interests at the parliamentary level? To answer these questions, we combine novel biographical data on the opposition parties’ candidates with parliamentary activity data focusing on the post-civil war legislatures (2008, 2012, 2017 and 2022). During this period, newcomers (such as the Broad Convergence for the Salvation of Angola – Electoral Coalition, CASA-CE) burst onto the political scene and joined historical opposition parties (such as the National Unit for the Total Independence of Angola, UNITA) in parliament. The data allow us to explore MPs biographic background, and how connected they are with their constituencies, over time and across electoral cycles. This paper contributes to the literature on MPs' behaviour and opposition elite formation in resilient authoritarian regimes with a dominant party system.

Panel Poli15
Lawmakers' constituency service in Africa: fostering accountability, development, and democracy?
  Session 2 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -