The benchmark First and Second Editions of Comparing Democracies represented essential guides to the global study of elections. Reflecting recent developments in the field, this timely new edition gives an indispensable state-of-the art review of the whole field from the world's leading international scholars. With a completely new thematic introduction which explores how democracy is built and sustained, thoroughly updated chapters (many of which are also new), the Third Edition provides a theoretical and comparative understanding of the major topics related to elections and introduces important work on key new areas. Comparing Democracies, Third Edition will remain a must-read for students and lecturers of elections and voting behavior, comparative politics, parties, and democracy.
Chapter 1: Introduction: Building and Sustaining Democracy
Introduction: Building and Sustaining Democracy
Elections and Democracy: Three Cases
Belarus: Electoral Autocracy
President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus has been dubbed “Europe's last dictator.”1 Ruling the country with an iron fist since 1994, his grip on power tightened further in 2004 when a controversial referendum abolished the constitution's two-term presidential limit. Leading opponents have been jailed, dissidents repressed, and many protesters arrested (Frear 2008; Way 2005). On 29 September, 2008 Belarusians had the opportunity to cast their ballots in elections for the 110-member House of Representatives, the third such contest held under the 1994 Constitution. Citizens had a choice of candidates, five dozen representing five opposition parties, competing alongside 183 independents. On election day, however, pro-Lukashenko deputies swept the ...