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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 Electoral Uncertainty

The Struggle over Electoral Uncertainty

Chapter:
(p.213) 7 The Struggle over Electoral Uncertainty
Source:
The Politics of Uncertainty
Author(s):

Andreas Schedler

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199680320.003.0008

How can we explain variations in authoritarian electoral uncertainty? This chapter traces the short-term impact both actor strategies and contextual variables bear on three objective measures of electoral uncertainty: margins of electoral victory, the control of legislative supermajorities by the incumbent, and party alternation in power. It confirms the power of actor strategies. Hegemonic regimes often secure their wide margins of victory through exclusion. Fraud and censorship are effective electoral weapons of competitive regimes. They serve to inflate margins of victory, defend legislative supermajorities, and avoid alternation in power. Both regime types are sensitive to challenges from below and within and both reap substantive short-term benefits from opposition boycotts. The chapter also corroborates the weight of contextual factors. Proportional election rules and subnational elections strengthen the opposition, while weak legislatures strengthen the incumbent. Economic variables show paradoxical effects: national wealth renders hegemonic regimes more secure, competitive regimes more insecure.

Keywords:   electoral uncertainty, competitiveness, margins of victory, constitutional majorities, alternation in power

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