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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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Two Levels of Struggle

Two Levels of Struggle

(p.112) 4 Two Levels of Struggle
The Politics of Uncertainty

Andreas Schedler

Oxford University Press

Authoritarian multiparty elections are creative institutions. They constitute the central arena of competition in electoral autocracies. The chapter describes its distinctive institutional structure and political logic. It conceives authoritarian elections as “two-level” games in which parties compete over voter preferences (at the game level) at the same time as they compete over institutional rules (at the meta-game level). Government and opposition are the leading protagonists of these “nested” games. State agents and voters are mediating agents who possess direct access to the production of votes. The chapter lays out the strategic options these actors face. It explains the “hybrid” nature of authoritarian election results, which are the composite result of voter choices and regime manipulation, and describes their structural opacity. As the chapter argues, both levels of the electoral authoritarian game interact in potentially self-defeating ways. The ensuing decision-making dilemmas tend to induce divisive controversies within regime and opposition actors.

Keywords:   authoritarian elections, asymmetric games, nested games, opacity, decision-making dilemmas

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