The 1996 UMNO Party Election: "Two for the Show"

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Case, William
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1997
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Abstract

The United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the dominant political party in Malaysia, has long been distinguished by its democratic procedures. By providing this outlet, the UMNO has made possible a closure of politics at the national level, amounting to a stable semi-democracy. This paper begins by recording the UMNO's democratic procedures. It also charts, however, the ways in which these procedures were limited by the party's leadership as its general assembly election approached in 1996, then describes the ways in which the assembly unfolded. It concludes by speculating that if some constant amount of democracy must be practiced in Malaysia, and if democracy has been diminished within its dominant party, the country's broader regime must then be proportionately opened in order to avoid instability or costly coercion.

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Pacific Affairs

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70

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3

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Studies in Human Society

Language, Communication and Culture

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