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The Politics of UncertaintySustaining and Subverting Electoral Authoritarianism$
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Andreas Schedler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199680320

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199680320.001.0001

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Shaping the Electoral Arena

Shaping the Electoral Arena

(p.77) 3 Shaping the Electoral Arena
The Politics of Uncertainty

Andreas Schedler

Oxford University Press

Electoral authoritarian regimes transgress democratic norms in severe and systematic ways. Grounded in democratic theory, the chapter first delineates the minimum norms of democratic elections. It then describes the repertoire of manipulative strategies authoritarian rulers may deploy to suffocate the democratic spirit of multiparty elections. Their strategies of manipulation are mutually substitutive. They include the banning and repressive treatment of parties and candidates, their exclusion from finance and mass media, the disenfranchisement and intimidation of voters, the design of discriminatory election rules, and the commission of electoral fraud. Due to normative and empirical ambiguities, the external boundary that separates electoral autocracies from electoral democracies is essentially contested. Their most salient internal boundary runs between hegemonic and competitive regimes that differ in their degrees of institutionalization. Hegemonic regimes display high levels of institutional certainty. They are in equilibrium. Competitive regimes show high levels of uncertainty. They are in disequilibrium.

Keywords:   democratic elections, authoritarian elections, electoral integrity, electoral manipulation, electoral governance, hegemonic regimes, competitive authoritarianism

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