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SPP 395

Author: Marc Morjé Howard and Philip G Roessler
Description: In the wake of the third wave of democratization, competitive authoritarian regimes--which contain elements of both democracy and authoritarianism--have emerged as a prominent regime type. These regimes hold regular, competitive elections between a government and an opposition, but the incumbent leader or party typically resorts to coercion, intimidation, and fraud to attempt to ensure electoral victory. Despite the incumbent's reliance on unfair practices to stay in power, however, such elections occasionally result in what we call a "liberalizing electoral outcome" (LEO), which often leads to a new government that is considerably less authoritarian than its predecessor. Using a "nested" research design that employs both cross-national statistical analysis and a case study of Kenya, we seek to explain how and why LEOs occur. Our findings demonstrate the importance of the organization of the opposition--and in particular the emergence of a strategic, elite-led "opposition coalition"--as a causal factor, which has more explanatory power than other traditional structural and institutional factors from the literature on democratization.

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