Subject: Competitive authoritarianism

October 2020, Volume 31, Issue 4

Covid vs. Democracy: India’s Illiberal Remedy

India’s covid-19 response has accelerated the country’s slide toward competitive authoritarian rule by centralizing decision making, undermining federalism, and providing new pretexts for stifling dissent.

April 2020, Volume 31, Issue 2

Algeria: When Elections Hurt Democracy

Algeria’s massive wave of protesters wanted to put an end to sham elections. While the leaderless movement succeeded for a time, its failure showcased the lengths to which a country’s ruling elite will go to maintain its hold on power.

January 2019, Volume 30, Issue 1

Zimbabwe: An Opportunity Lost

Zimbabwe’s first elections since the November 2017 coup that ousted nonagenarian dictator Robert Mugabe were marred by the abuse of state resources, electoral irregularities, and a tragic bout of postelection violence that saw soldiers use deadly force against civilians.

April 2017, Volume 28, Issue 2

Nicaragua: A Return to Caudillismo

With the ruling FSLN’s one-sided triumph in the November 2016 elections, Nicaraguan democracy underwent further erosion. The emerging authoritarian party-state, far from being a leftist revolutionary government, is becoming a neopatrimonial dictatorship in an older Latin American style.

October 2013, Volume 24, Issue 4

Malaysia’s Elections: A Step Backward

Despite losing the popular vote, Malaysia’s long-ruling Barisan Nasional triumphed again in the country’s 2013 elections, disappointing an emboldened opposition that had high hopes after a strong performance in 2008.

July 2012, Volume 23, Issue 3

African Elections: Two Divergent Trends

Regular elections have become a fixture of political life throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but there are now “two Africas” in this regard: one where elections bring the blessings of greater political openness and competition, and another where elections are, in effect, one more tool that authoritarians use to retain power.

July 2012, Volume 23, Issue 3

Senegal: What Will Turnover Bring?

Although Senegal has often been regarded as a democracy, its regime should more properly have been classified as competitive authoritarian. Will the 2012 election of a new president prove to be a turning point?

October 2011, Volume 22, Issue 4

Singapore: Authoritarian but Newly Competitive

Singapore has long been known for combining economic development with strict limits on political opposition. But its 2011 parliamentary elections suggest that it is moving toward “competitive authoritarianism.”

January 2011, Volume 22, Issue 1

Latin America: A Setback for Chávez

Hugo Chávez has been running a bounded competitive-authoritarian regime for some time, but its ability to compete is now slipping. Will this tend to make it less authoritarian—or even more so?