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Competitive Authoritarianism

Competitive authoritarianism is a kind of hybrid regime, or a political regime that combines elements of both democracy and authoritarianism. In competitive authoritarian regimes, multiparty elections are held regularly and are hard-fought affairs. However, the “playing field” is uneven: control of the media, abuse of state resources, coercion, and/or limited fraud give incumbents an unfair advantage over the opposition. Because elections are not free and fair, these regimes are not democratic. Yet neither are they fully authoritarian. Although unfair, they are not totally meaningless. In competitive authoritarian regimes, there is real competition and some uncertainty regarding the outcome of elections.

Hybrid Regimes

The concept of competitive authoritarianism was developed by Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way to describe a kind of hybrid regime that became increasingly common ...

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