Why Do Parties Merge? The Case of the Conservative Party of Canada
AbstractThis article presents a case study of the recent merger between the Progressive-Conservative Party and the Reform/Canadian Alliance parties. The selection of this case serves to illustrate the current limits of existing party organisational change and party coalition theories when it comes to explaining party mergers. We propose an alternative theoretical framework that introduces some minor adjustments to the existing literature in order to account for the party merger phenomenon. In this framework, three factors are shown to be most likely to have led to a party merger in the Canadian context: votes-seats disproportionality, access to new resources (electoral and financial) and rebranding. We conclude with a discussion regarding these factors’ potential for explaining other cases of party mergers.