Political Selection in the Secular-Islamist Divide



Aytuğ Şaşmaz, CDDRL Postdoctoral Fellow

Date and Time

October 7, 2021 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM


RSVP Required.


Online, via Zoom

About the Seminar: How are politicians selected in the countries of Middle East and North Africa where electoral politics is to a large extent dominated by secular-Islamist competition? By bringing together a novel candidate survey, a contemporaneous household survey, interviews and a conjoint experiment with party officials, this paper describes the political selection processes around the first democratic local elections in Tunisia. It shows that there is a divergence between the main secular party and the main Islamist party: The secular party suffers from a relatively negative political selection, because its candidates are less competent even though the secular voter base has a larger share of citizens with higher educational attainment. Party-related factors, i.e. what the party elites look for when selecting their candidates, are likely to explain a large share of this divergence: Secular party officials prioritize connectedness and loyalty over competence.



About the Speaker: Aytug Sasmaz is a political scientist working on political parties, social policy and democratic decline, primarily in the Middle East and North Africa region. He recently received his PhD from Harvard.

Aytug Sasmaz


Share this Event