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Authoritarian elections and democratization in South Korea and Taiwan

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  • Authoritarian elections and democratization in South Korea and Taiwan
  • Mobrand, Erik
  • Social Science Research Network


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Title Authoritarian elections and democratization in South Korea and Taiwan
Similar Titles
Material Type Reports
Author(English)

Mobrand, Erik

Publisher

[Rochester]:Social Science Research Network

Date 2014-08
Subject Country South Korea(Asia and Pacific)
Taiwan(Asia and Pacific)
Language English
File Type Link
Subject Government and Law < Political Systems
Government and Law < Public Administration
Holding Social Science Research Network

Abstract

A key point of contestation in debates over elections and regime type is whether authoritarian elections are meaningless shams or engines of democratization. Comparison of the experiences of South Korea and Taiwan can offer insight into this issue. Authoritarian regimes in both places held elections and both polities subsequently democratized. I show that elections were important for Taiwan’s transition but largely insignificant for South Korea’s. What accounts for the divergent implications of authoritarian elections? I argue that this difference stems from variation in the ways elections generated anti-regime forces as well as from the international contexts that shaped regime responses to elections-related pressure. A key contribution of this comparison is to document the ways authoritarian elections may or may not redistribute power to new actors. Differences among authoritarian elections, even when unrelated to how free or fair elections are, can have implications for their democratizing potential.