The SAGE Handbook of Comparative Politics presents in one volume an authoritative overview of the theoretical, methodological, and substantive elements of comparative political science. The 28 specially commissioned chapters, written by renowned comparative scholars, guide the reader through the central issues and debates, presenting a state-of-the-art guide to the past, present, and possible futures of the field.
Chapter 20: Electoral Authoritarianism
The literature on comparative democratization is turning into a misnomer. Instead of studying processes of democratic change it is more and more dedicated to the study of authoritarian regimes that prove resistant to the chants of transition, even while going through considerable theatrical efforts to appear as democratic, or at least as dutifully democratizing. A large number of political regimes in the contemporary world, ranging from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe, from Russia to Singapore, from Belarus to Cameroon, from Egypt to Malaysia, have established the institutional facades of democracy, including regular multiparty elections for the chief executive, in order to conceal (and reproduce) harsh realities of authoritarian governance. In historical perspective, the authoritarian use of elections is nothing new; yet contemporary electoral authoritarian ...