Isabel Chew, Political Science, University of British Columbia
Who votes for ethnic minority parties and why? Using an original survey experiment from Myanmar, I argue that we need to pay attention to how subnational boundaries sharpen regional identity and create new majority-minority dynamics. These determine the kind of political community (ethnic, regional, or national) that ethnic minorities see themselves as being part of, and in turn affects the rate of ethnic voting. At the same time, subnational dynamics can also influence how ethnic minority parties are perceived by voters. When the ethnic party in question seeks to represent the subnational majority, subnational minorities may view themselves as potential beneficiaries of the party’s platform, facilitating cross-ethnic voting.
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