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Uniting Against Autocrats - Opposition Coordination, Turnovers and Democratization by Elections

Wahman, Michael LU (2012)
Abstract
As counter intuitive as it might sound, autocracy without elections is a rare combination today. Elections do not constitute democracy, but they can promote democratization. This dissertation studies the process of democratization through elections, focusing on the effect of opposition coordination. Several authors have stressed the importance of opposition coordination as an explanation for democratization by elections, emphasizing how a coordinated opposition increases the electoral pressure on incumbent regimes and enhances the probability of electoral turnovers. However, little research has been done investigating the causes for opposition coordination under electoral authoritarianism, or studying the more long-term consequences of... (More)
As counter intuitive as it might sound, autocracy without elections is a rare combination today. Elections do not constitute democracy, but they can promote democratization. This dissertation studies the process of democratization through elections, focusing on the effect of opposition coordination. Several authors have stressed the importance of opposition coordination as an explanation for democratization by elections, emphasizing how a coordinated opposition increases the electoral pressure on incumbent regimes and enhances the probability of electoral turnovers. However, little research has been done investigating the causes for opposition coordination under electoral authoritarianism, or studying the more long-term consequences of coordination beyond the electoral outcome. This dissertation does so in four independent, but related, articles probing the overall question: How is democratization by elections achieved and what causal explanatory power can be attributed to opposition coordination for obtaining democratizing outcomes in authoritarian elections?



Using statistical evidence from electoral authoritarian regimes around the globe, together with in-depth case studies of three African countries, Ghana, Kenya and Senegal, the findings diverge substantially from much of the previous research. The general causal relationship between opposition coordination and democratization by elections is questioned. It is argued that much of the previous literature has confused alternation with democratization. Oppositional politicians radically change their institutional preferences once they assume office, and although coordination increases the prospects for turnovers, it often does not result in long-term democratization. In cases where parties are poorly institutionalized and appeal to voters through patronage rather than through different distinguishable policy agendas, coordination often reflects the probability of election turnovers rather than causes democratization. (Less)
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author
supervisor
opponent
  • Schedler, Andreas, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), Mexico City, Mexico
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Democratization, authoritarianism, election, party, opposition, coalition, ethnic, Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal
pages
199 pages
defense location
Edens Hörsal, Paradisgatan 5H, Lund
defense date
2012-04-27 10:00
ISSN
0460-0037
ISBN
978-91-88306-82-1
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
85499741-7de4-4f17-bfe8-8d81c11f7281 (old id 2369667)
date added to LUP
2012-03-14 07:53:26
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:00
@phdthesis{85499741-7de4-4f17-bfe8-8d81c11f7281,
  abstract     = {As counter intuitive as it might sound, autocracy without elections is a rare combination today. Elections do not constitute democracy, but they can promote democratization. This dissertation studies the process of democratization through elections, focusing on the effect of opposition coordination. Several authors have stressed the importance of opposition coordination as an explanation for democratization by elections, emphasizing how a coordinated opposition increases the electoral pressure on incumbent regimes and enhances the probability of electoral turnovers. However, little research has been done investigating the causes for opposition coordination under electoral authoritarianism, or studying the more long-term consequences of coordination beyond the electoral outcome. This dissertation does so in four independent, but related, articles probing the overall question: How is democratization by elections achieved and what causal explanatory power can be attributed to opposition coordination for obtaining democratizing outcomes in authoritarian elections?<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Using statistical evidence from electoral authoritarian regimes around the globe, together with in-depth case studies of three African countries, Ghana, Kenya and Senegal, the findings diverge substantially from much of the previous research. The general causal relationship between opposition coordination and democratization by elections is questioned. It is argued that much of the previous literature has confused alternation with democratization. Oppositional politicians radically change their institutional preferences once they assume office, and although coordination increases the prospects for turnovers, it often does not result in long-term democratization. In cases where parties are poorly institutionalized and appeal to voters through patronage rather than through different distinguishable policy agendas, coordination often reflects the probability of election turnovers rather than causes democratization.},
  author       = {Wahman, Michael},
  isbn         = {978-91-88306-82-1},
  issn         = {0460-0037},
  keyword      = {Democratization,authoritarianism,election,party,opposition,coalition,ethnic,Africa,Kenya,Ghana,Senegal},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {199},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Uniting Against Autocrats - Opposition Coordination, Turnovers and Democratization by Elections},
  year         = {2012},
}