Family Oriented Political Spectrum

Posted by on Sep-18-2010

In my earlier posts I have already mentioned about the political dynasties in India so this time I would rather discuss about political dynasties in other countries. If we look around we can find many examples of dynasty politics. Political dynasties are not limited to India, but its spread across the world. In the developing countries, elected political dynasties have been rather common. There is no boundary for political dynasties. Even industrialized democracies are not immune to dynasty politics.

In South Asia it has been common for a spouse or child to inherit a political office. In Pakistan, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari joined the people’s party. The whole world raised its eyebrows when a 19-year-old Oxford student was chosen to be the leader of Pakistan People’s Party. But it’s not a surprise as Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was only following the footsteps of his murdered mother, Benazir Bhutto, who took over the party after her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s. Similarly, in Bangladesh, Khaleda Zia followed the footsteps of Benazir Bhutto Zardari, when her husband, President Ziaur Rahman, was assassinated in 1981. Though she had little interest in politics she was chosen to lead the nation by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

Such dynasties are quite common in American state and local politics as well. In America, John Ashcroft became the first senator to be defeated by a dead man, Mel Carnahan, who died a couple of weeks before the 2000 election, but whose name remained on the ballot and his widow, Jean, took his Senate seat. It is Hillary Clinton, however, who provides the best example of dynastic politics. She is the candidate of the Democratic establishment seeking a restoration because of her husband’s eight years in politics.

The dynastic tradition is widespread in politics. Political Parties often come to be seen as reflecting the will of one powerful personality whose successors view the party as their personal property. The pattern is familiar. The progenitor dominates the party, and the faithful hope to find spiritual continuity with family heirs becoming political successors. Sometimes these dynasties find successors that are equal to the task and sometimes not.

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