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The Politics of UncertaintySustaining and Subverting Electoral Authoritarianism$
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Andreas Schedler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199680320

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199680320.001.0001

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The Struggle over Regime Change

The Struggle over Regime Change

(p.337) 10 The Struggle over Regime Change
The Politics of Uncertainty

Andreas Schedler

Oxford University Press

When do electoral autocracies undergo regime change? When do they democratize? When do they experience authoritarian closure? The chapter seeks to explain the trajectories of electoral authoritarian regimes (continuity, democratization, and interruption) by exploring two sets of explanatory factors. One set is specific to electoral autocracies: electoral institutions and electoral strategies. Another set is more general: societal structures, state capacities, and contentious action outside the electoral arena. The empirical findings of the chapter offer a balanced picture. Both regime-specific and more general factors matter. Interparty competitiveness, opposition protest, and electoral boycotts tend to destabilize electoral autocracies, electoral manipulation to stabilize them. Majoritarian rules and weak legislatures augment their survival chances as well. Wealth is a source of instability in competitive regimes, yet reinforces the tranquility of their hegemonic counterparts. Oil greases the reproduction of both. The politics of authoritarian elections is consequential, yet not sovereign, but embedded in structural constraints.

Keywords:   regime stability, regime change, transition, opening, breakdown

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