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Levitsky, Steven, Way reading notes.doc

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Political Science
Dominique Arel

Competitive Authoritarianism Hybrid Regimes After the Cold WarLevitsky Steven and Luncan A Way electoral manipulation unfair media access abuse of state resources and varying degrees of harassment and violence skewed the playing field in favor of incumbents competition was real but unfair competitive authoritarianism proliferated after the Cold War the assumption that hybrid regimes are or should be moving in a democratic direction lacks empirical foundation hybrid regimes followed diverse trajectories during the postCold War period competitive authoritarian regimes are civilian regimes in which formal democratic institutions exist and are widely viewed as the primary means of gaining power but in which incumbents abuse of the state places them at a significant advantage visavis their opponents opposition parties use democratic institutions to contest seriously for power not democratic because the playing field is heavily skewed in favor of incumbents competition is real but unfair hybrid regime type characteristics of both authoritarianism and democracy elections are held regularly and opposition parties are not legally barred from contesting them opposition activity is above ground opposition parties can open offices recruit candidates and organize campaigns and politicians are rarely exiled or imprisoned four key attributes of democracy1 Free fair and competitive elections2 Full adult suffrage3 Broad protection of civil liberties including freedom of speech press and association4 The absence of nonelected tutelary authorities militaries monarchies or religious bodies that limit elected officials power to govern one extra attribute5 The existence of a reasonably level playing field between incumbents and oppositionth two reasons that the 5 attribute should be treated as a separate dimension1 Aspects of an uneven playing field have a major impact between elections and are thus often missed in evaluations of whether elections are free and fair2 Some government actions that skew the playing field may not be viewed as civilliberties violations full authoritarianism a regime in which no viable channels exist for opposition to contest legally for executive power elections may be considered noncompetitive when1 Major candidates are formally barred or effectively excluded on a regular basis2 Repression or legal controls effectively prevent opposition parties from running public campaigns3 Fraud is so massive that there is virtually no observable relationship between voter preferences and official electoral results
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