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The Handbook of Political, Social, and Economic Transformation$
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Wolfgang Merkel, Raj Kollmorgen, and Hans-Jürgen Wagener

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198829911

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829911.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 June 2021

Elections and Transformation

Elections and Transformation

Chapter:
(p.486) Chapter 47 Elections and Transformation
Source:
The Handbook of Political, Social, and Economic Transformation
Author(s):

Andreas Schedler

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198829911.003.0047

Competitive political elections are frequent objects of cynicism, but also carriers of great transformative expectations. This chapter reviews the comparative literature about their transformational power in three realms. It discusses the democratizing power of multiparty elections in electoral authoritarian regimes; the capacity of elections to deepen the democratic quality of minimal democracies; and their civilizing power in the face of democratic state repression and societal violence. In all three areas, the balance is sobering. The mere existence of competitive elections does not lead to either democratizing or civilizing progress. Their actual transformative power depends on the willingness and capacity of democratic actors to exploit the institutional opportunities they offer.

Keywords:   power of elections, electoral authoritarianism, electoral transitions, democratization by elections, democratic deepening, state repression, societal violence, institutionalism, Latin America

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