Disappointing democrats: exploring the link between democratization and electoral turnover

In this article, Michael Wahman explores the links between electoral turnover and democratisation in countries where incumbents manipulate the electoral playing field to their advantage. Although you might think that an opposition win in such cases would accelerate democratisation, Wahman argues that this is not the case: parties may see the promise of democratisation as a means to an end. Once in office, they might find the autocratic status quo more appealing than democratic reform. Evidence from across the continent suggests that democratisation stands a better chance when incoming parties are institutionalised, and the displaced ruling party can stay on as a viable opposition. Wahman is a Swedish Research Council Fellow at the Department of Government, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). A full version of this research was recently published in the journal Democratization.

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