Political parties in developing country democracies are often characterized by undemocratic internal party practices, including for selecting party organizational leaders. Scholars identify institutional, party-level, and demographic factors as driving such practices. In this paper, we contribute to this research by considering the effect of two personal factors—personal religiosity and membership in a political family. Politicians act in accordance with personal values and strategic incentives. We argue religiosity influences both in ways that undermine support for democratic intra-party selection practices. We hypothesize that membership in a political family increases the undemocratic effects of high religiosity because it strengthens the capacity of highly religious dynasts to access and mobilize politically through religious and family networks. This strengthens their strategic independence from their party, leading them to support undemocratic leadership selection practices. We test this prediction for the case of Turkey using original data from a 2017 survey of 200 Turkish politicians. We find that religiosity is only associated with reduced support for democratic leadership selection practices among politicians who are members of political families. This result is robust to the inclusion of party-specific effects, religious party membership, and individual characteristics including support for political Islam.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science