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Elections under authoritarianism: Preliminary lessons from Jordan

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Ellen Lust
Publicerad i Democratization
Volym 13
Sidor 456-471
ISSN 1351-0347
Publiceringsår 2006
Publicerad vid Statsvetenskapliga institutionen
Sidor 456-471
Språk en
Länkar www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080...
Ämnesord elections; authoritarianism; Jordan; Middle East; democratization
Ämneskategorier Statsvetenskap

Sammanfattning

This study examines the politics of elections in authoritarian regimes, focusing on Jordan. Specifically, it considers (1) what is the role of elections in authoritarian regimes? (2) How can we understand voter behaviour in authoritarian elections? (3) How and why do candidates participate in elections? (4) How do state elites manage electoral competition? The fundamental contention is that elections under authoritarianism are an important arena for competition, but one over patronage, not policy. This has profound effects on electoral politics. Voters generally cast their ballots for those who can, and will, deliver goods; that is, they vote for candidates who maintain good relations with ruling elites, and with whom the voters have personal ties. Elites are similarly more likely to run in elections if they do not oppose the regime. The result is a pro-regime bias in parliaments, even in the absence of regime manipulation. Consequently, in contrast to conventional wisdom, elections are neither pre-determined ‘contests’ under the ruling elites’ full control, nor are they major struggles between opposition and the regime; rather, elections in even very repressive authoritarian regimes are often true competitions that help to stabilize the regime. Authoritarian rulers can thus generally rely on institutions – not ballot-box stuffing – to manage elections, using districting and electoral laws to favour supporters. The study concludes with a discussion of implications for democracy promotion programmes.

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