Path: Janda: Political Parties, Home Page > Part 1: Table of Contents > Chapter 4
Chapter 4: Governmental Status (pp. 29-40), this is p. 31
(you can navigate to other pages by clicking on page numbers below)
p. 29
p. 30
p. 32
p. 33
p. 34
p. 36
p. 37
p. 38
p. 39
p. 40

not full independence followed quickly on the heels of the loi cadre--as in the case of the Central African Republic, which became an autonomous republic within the French community in 1958, and Guinea, which rejected the constitution for the Fifth Republic and became an independent republic the same year. As for the former British colonies, no single parliamentary act served to standardize comparison among the countries in our study, and we had to choose from a variety of constitutional enactments for the countries to facilitate comparison with the 1956-1957 dividing line for the former French colonies. All decisions are explained in the country essays in Part Two.

From the standpoint of political parties, a country's entering the second stage of preindependence politics is more important than its obtaining formal independence. At least in the early years of independence covered by this study, the pattern of party politics established while winning independence tended to continue thereafter. With a few exceptions, we make our internal distinction to correspond with the beginning of the second stage of preindependence politics. For parties in former colonies, therefore, there is often a dramatic difference in the way they are scored on the following indicators of governmental status in the first and last parts of our 1950-1962 period.

The concept of governmental status is addressed in the ICPP project through six basic variables:

2.01 -- Government Discrimination
2.02 -- Governmental Leadership
2.03 -- Cabinet Participation
2.04 -- National Participation
2.05 -- Legislative Strength
2.06 -- Electoral Strength

One additional variable located in this cluster is 2.07, "outside origin." It was originally conceived as another indicator of governmental status, but the character of a party's origin is more appropriately viewed as a concept in its own right. The variable has remained in this cluster largely as a matter of convenience in presentation.

Basic Variable 2.01: Government Discrimination

A government (including a distant colonial authority) can be said to discriminate in favor of or against a party by promoting or opposing its activities. These acts of discrimination can take many forms of varying severity. At the extremes, the government might outlaw certain parties or declare a given party to be the only legal one. A less severe form of discrimination would be to support or to interfere with selected party practices, such as publishing a newspaper or holding meetings. Still less discriminatory would be granting or denying access to government-owned communications media.

Presumably, these discriminatory activities would conform to the principles of cumulative scaling. The most extreme discriminatory practices would be accompanied by less extreme ones. One would not expect to find, for example, a party being declared illegal and yet given access to government-owned mass media. This assumption of cumulative scaling is testable, and it is tested in our operationalization by providing for a cumulative scoring of the party on each of several forms of discrimination.

Operational Definition. The scoring procedure used in operationalizing this variable takes advantage of the principle of geometric progression, which provides for one and only one way of obtaining a given value by summating other values. By studying the value that a party obtains through this scoring procedure, one can determine what individual acts of discrimination the party experienced, and the assumption of a cumulative scale can be tested.

A party is assigned the sum total of weights--to a maximum of +16--associated with each of these discriminatory acts that it experiences. The signs attached to the weights denote positive or negative acts, and they are preserved in summing and scoring the party.


Prohibiting candidates from ballots; invalidating all its votes; declaring the party illegal; jailing its leaders.


Prohibiting party operation of communications media: newspapers, radio, TV, mails.


Harassing or threatening interference with party meetings, campaigns, business activities, employment of party members. 


Denying access to government-owned mass media or imposing censorship on party use of the mass media but not preventing its use. 


Discriminatory provisions of electoral system, including blatant gerrymandering, severe legal requirements for appearing on ballot, altered procedures for determining election outcomes.


Government is neutral or indifferent toward the party; makes no apparent attempt either to interfere with or to support the party. This code is favored in the absence of statements that indicate positive or negative discrimination, but applied only when sufficient information exists about the party to presume tht the authors failed to mention government discrimination because it wasn't important. Not used when there is insufficient information about the party in the file to make such a judgment. Then the variable is uncoded.


go to page 32