A dictatorship is the type of political regime in which political officeholders are not elected in a free and competitive election and where political conflict is, or in principle may be, resolved by violence as opposed to election or the rule of law. While many definitions of dictatorship exist, the majority of scholars rely on that which is based on what dictatorship is not: If democracy is a regime in which officeholders are chosen through competitive election, then dictatorship is a political regime that fails to meet this requirement. The dictator, dictatorship’s supporters and opponents, and citizens have different political goals, and different strategies to achieve them; political actors therefore engage in political behavior just like they do in a democracy. This entry discusses the ...

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