Timor-leste votes: Parties and patronage

Edward Aspinall, Allen Hicken, James Scambary, Meredith Weiss

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    This article examines electoral politics in the tiny nation of Timor-Leste, one of Southeast Asia's most successful democracies. Focusing on the country’s July 2017 parliamentary elections, it asks why retail forms of electoral clientelism, such as mass-based vote buying, are rarer in Timor-Leste than in several neighboring states, despite its poverty and growing levels of corruption. It argues that Timor-Leste’s electoral system undercuts the appeal of retail clientelism by prioritizing parties rather than candidates, and by encouraging parties to build up their networks and target patronage politics at community-level notables rather than ordinary voters. The result is an alternative model of clientelistic politics shaped by collective ties involving parties, local notables, and state contracts, Moreover, these clientelistic ties, although common, remained on the whole secondary to historical networks in binding voters to politicians.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)153-167
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Democracy
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


    Dive into the research topics of 'Timor-leste votes: Parties and patronage'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this