Legitimacy Research in Progress VI: Fransje Molenaar

Fransje Molenaar, member of the Profile Area Political Legitimacy, is in the final phase of her PhD research, entitled "Changing the rules of the game. The development and reform of party law in Latin America". Fransje hopes to defend her thesis in 2017. We are proud to publish an abstract of her current research.


Fransje Molenaar

Fransje Molenaar

Fransje Molenaar’s research focuses on the evolution of the legal regulation of political parties—better known as party law—in Latin America. The dissertation builds on a comparative longitudinal analysis of the constitutional codification of Latin American political parties, which focuses in particular on the historical development of the normative and procedural roles that legislators ascribe to political parties. The analysis shows that, although the region is known for its political systems dominated by strong, personalistic leaders, almost all Latin American countries have adopted far-reaching party laws. One intriguing aspect of these laws is that they seemingly constrain political parties and their leaders.

Molenaar investigates how this development can be explained: are party law reforms an attempt to curtail the power of strong leaders, do politicians use these laws to obstruct their competitors and to provide themselves with access to resources, or is party law nothing more than a ‘paper tiger’ designed to address popular demands for change in a symbolic manner? Through comparative case studies of several reform processes, she shows that different motivations for reform not only lead to different types of legal change, but that these motivations also determine the extent to which laws are designed to matter in practice. 

Dissertation title (provisional): "'Changing the rules of the game. The development and reform of party law in Latin America'"
PhD candidate: Fransje Molenaar
Institute: Institute of Political Science, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (Leiden University)
Start: 2010
Finish: expected 2017
Supervisors: prof. dr. I.C. van Biezen, prof. dr. R.A. Koole, and dr. I. Harbers (University of Amsterdam)

Last Modified: 22-03-2016