Abstract

Abstract:

Since 1989, regime transitions from authoritarian to more (and sometimes fully) democratic rule have taken place through four processes: popular protests, roundtables between the regime and the opposition, elections, and, finally, elections followed by popular protests that ensure that the victorious opposition is allowed to take power. We argue that these contrasting modes of regime change depend on whether the authoritarian regime is competitive (allowing competition for power at the national level) or non-competitive and whether the regime is more or less repressive. These factors affect the strength of the opposition and the mechanisms available to them to win power. Popular protests take place in repressive, non-competitive regimes; roundtables in less repressive, non-competitive regimes; electoral transitions in less repressive, competitive regimes; and transitions involving elections combined with protests in more repressive, competitive authoritarian regimes.

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