Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Schraufnagel, Scot D.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


Political science; Political parties--Southeast Asia; Political parties--Indonesia; Political parties--Malaysia; Political parties--Singapore; Political parties--Philippines; Political parties--Thailand


This thesis examines the factors that influence the effective number of political parties in five Southeast Asian countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand. Specifically, it will examine the association between the number of political parties as the dependent variable and the three independent variables, which are the electoral system; the social, religious and ethnic cleavages; and the role of patron-client relationships. This research is an attempt to provide a cross-sectional study of Southeast Asian political parties with an aim to uncover an explanation for the variance in the number of political parties found in the region. Specifically, the goal is to explain which combination of the different variables will have the greatest influence on the effective number of political parties in each country with an eye toward determining if there are any generalizable explanations. This study concludes that electoral laws are the deciding factor for the number of political parties in the case for Malaysia and Singapore. In the cases for Thailand and the Philippines, this study concludes that there are further variables outside the scope of the three variables studied that can possibly contribute to the outcome of political parties. In the study of Indonesia, this study concludes that all three variables contributed to the multi-party outcome.


Advisors: Scot Schraufnagel.||Committee members: Kikue Hamayotsu; Kheung Un.


130 pages




Northern Illinois University

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