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Feckless Pluralism

Feckless pluralism refers to political systems that fall short of democratic standards but contain contested elections and alternation of power between different political groups. It is a form of government that is neither democratic nor autocratic. Hybrid regimes of this sort caught the attention of political scientists in the wake of the third wave of democratization, as a number of countries in Eurasia, Africa, and Latin America seemingly got stuck along the road toward democracy. Some political regimes in the gray zone between democracy and autocracy are referred to as dominant power politics systems. This entry introduces Thomas Carothers’s concept of feckless pluralism and its relation to the wider notion of hybrid regimes.

Hybrid regimes are not really new. Analyzing multiparty politics in Eastern Europe in ...

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