Beyond Electoralism? Electoral fraud in third wave regimes, 1974-2009
Title: Beyond Electoralism? Electoral fraud in third wave regimes, 1974-2009
Author: VAN HAM, Carolien
Series/Report no.: EUI PhD theses; Department of Political and Social Sciences
As the “third wave” of democratization spread across the globe after 1974, more and more citizens got a chance –often for the first time in their lives- to cast their vote in multi-party elections. Since then, the number of countries holding regular elections for executive and legislative offices has sharply increased: over 85% of the world’s states now select their national leaders through elections. Unfortunately, the variety of elections has multiplied concomitantly, ranging from “free and fair” elections with genuine contestation between parties or candidates to “façade” elections that are marred by manipulation and fraud. In light of these empirical developments, research on the quality of elections is increasingly relevant. Not only as a way to clarify the fuzzy boundaries between regime types, particularly electoral autocracy and electoral democracy. But also, and more importantly, to understand the causes of variation in election quality as well as its consequences for the functioning of government and broader democratization processes in these polities. This thesis studies the quality of elections in 97 countries in Southern Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, the Former Soviet Union, Sub-Saharan Africa, South America and Central America from 1974 until 2009. Chapter 1 reviews the literature on democratization and elections and specifies the research questions addressed. Subsequently, chapter 2 proposes a definition of the quality of elections that is grounded both in academic work as well as international legal conventions on human and political rights, and introduces the data collected to ‘measure’ election quality. The resulting database on electoral fraud in third wave regimes contains election quality scores for over 880 elections. Chapter 3 and 4 study variation in election quality across polities, attempting to explain why some new democracies manage to “get their elections right” while others do not. Chapter 5 and 6 ask the “so what” question by investigating the consequences of variation in election quality: do elections of higher quality generate more accountable and responsive governments? Finally, chapter 7 connects the findings in the earlier chapters by inquiring to what degree and how election quality affects broader democratization processes and concludes with suggestions for policy-making and further research.
Defence date: 28 June 2012; Examining Board: Professor Mark Franklin (EUI Supervisor); Professor Philippe Schmitter (EUI); Professor Staffan Lindberg (University of Florida/University of Gothenburg); Professor Petr Kopecky (University of Leiden).
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