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SPP 355

Author: Steven Levitsky and Lucan A Way
Description: One aspect of the third wave of democratization has received limited scholarly attention: the emergence and persistence of hybrid regimes combining democratic rules and authoritarian government. This paper examines competitive authoritarian regimes in which elections are often unfair, and basic civil and democratic rights are often violated. However, they differ from full-blown autocracies in that incumbents are unable (or unwilling) to eliminate democratic institutions such as elections that, while significantly weaker than in democracies, still shape political competition in important ways. The paper explores why competitive authoritarian regimes emerge and how they change; it focuses particularly on building and sustaining authoritarian institutions. The coexistence of autocratic incumbents and formal democratic rules creates an inherently unstable dynamic in which periodic crises are likely. Whether or not authoritarian incumbents survive these crises depends on the nature of their linkages to the international system and the capacity of opposition forces to unite and act collectively against the government. The analysis is developed by a comparison of Peru and Ukraine.

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Postal Address:    CSPP Publications, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, G1 1XQ, UK

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland