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The Politics of Presidential Term Limits$
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Alexander Baturo and Robert Elgie

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198837404

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198837404.001.0001

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Term Limits and Succession in Dictatorships

Term Limits and Succession in Dictatorships

(p.269) 14 Term Limits and Succession in Dictatorships
The Politics of Presidential Term Limits

Natasha Ezrow

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores executive term limits in authoritarian regimes. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, authoritarian regimes often willingly implement term limits. This chapter explains why this is the case and how term limits might help to maintain autocratic stability. The chapter also explains how term limits are enforced and what type of authoritarian regime is most likely to have term limits, looking at personalist regimes, single-party regimes, and military regimes. As the chapter will argue, many single-party regimes implement executive term limits because they ensure leadership turnover and prolong the tenure of the regime. Nevertheless, term limits do not always lead to stability. This chapter also explores the cases where term limits may lead to the downfall of a regime or at least have a liberalizing effect on the regime.

Keywords:   authoritarian regimes, term limits, authoritarian stability, elections, presidential systems, leadership turnover, authoritarian breakdown

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