By Valerie J. Bunce, Sharon L. Wolchik
From 1998 to 2005, six elections came about in postcommunist Europe and Eurasia that had the marvelous final result of empowering the competition and defeating authoritarian incumbents or their specified successors. Valerie J. Bunce and Sharon L. Wolchik evaluate those unforeseen electoral breakthroughs - with each other and with elections that had the extra common results of protecting authoritarian rule. They draw 3 conclusions. First, the competition was once positive as a result of difficult and artistic paintings of a transnational community composed of neighborhood competition and civil society teams, individuals of the foreign democracy information neighborhood, and graduates of profitable electoral demanding situations to authoritarian rule in different nations. moment, the extraordinary run of those dissatisfied elections mirrored the power of this community to diffuse an ensemble of leading edge electoral recommendations throughout country limitations. ultimately, elections can function a strong mechanism for democratic swap. this is often specifically the case while civil society is robust, the move of political strength is thru constitutional capability, and competition leaders win with small mandates.
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Extra info for Defeating Authoritarian Leaders in Postcommunist Countries
As a result, the strategies for winning power had to be amended to include large-scale popular protests following the election to force the incumbent president, Slobodan Milošević, to admit defeat and leave office. The Ukrainian case is also of particular interest because of certain similarities with the Serbian case – for instance, a relatively authoritarian regime and exceptionally large-scale protests following the election. However, there were also some differences between these two electoral breakthroughs – for example, less campaigning on the part of the United States in Ukraine to bring about regime change and the greater importance in Ukraine of a charismatic leader who had defected from the regime and who became the candidate of the opposition.
54 A second set of concerns is more empirical in nature. S. 55 Moreover, democracy assistance has been shown to have perverse consequences. For example, despite the best of intentions, external democracy aid can create fragile, dependent, and unrepresentative civil society and opposition groups, and it can destabilize regimes and governments as a result of how decisions about democracy assistance are made and implemented. Thus, some target states have paid a high price for rigid advice that is insensitive to local contexts; the inconsistent foreign policy priorities of the United States; high rates of personnel turnover within the democracy assistance community; lack of coordination and even conflicts among international democracy promoters; and the inefficiency of the foreign aid bureaucracy.
It was precisely such arguments, for example, that we encountered repeatedly in Armenia not just from representatives of the regime, but also from college students, journalists, and even leaders of opposition parties. The emphasis on political order is particularly appealing in countries such as Armenia, but also in Azerbaijan and, for that matter, in China and Russia, where there are widespread fears of instability as a result of painful recent experiences with chaotic politics and poor economic performance.
Defeating Authoritarian Leaders in Postcommunist Countries by Valerie J. Bunce, Sharon L. Wolchik