Beyond Vote Rigging: Common Patterns in Electoral Malpractices in De-Democratizing Regimes
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For the past decade in many countries in Europe and its close neighborhood we have observed different types of processes which can be named as “de-democratization”. The aim of the article is to analyze the state of elections as the crucial democratic institution which fairness and competitiveness have a substantial impact on the political regime. While Turkey as a “role model” for our analysis remains a main focus of the article, three European countries were selected for a comparison based on their relative similarity to Turkey – Hungary, Macedonia (FYROM) and Serbia. The following questions are posed: Are elections in these countries free, fair and competitive? Can some types of electoral malpractice and irregularities be identified? How does the state of elections in terms of their fairness and competitiveness influence the political regime? The main hypothesis is that in the analyzed countries elections competitiveness limited by incumbents can become a factor deciding about the change within the political regime in the long run (loss of democratic quality) and also change the regime (to a less democratic one).
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Erratum: The figure on page 604 (i.e. 15-35%) was mentioned by the interviewed scholar with reference to the entire electorate targeted for vote buying, but a similar figure was given by other scholars as the percentage of votes received by the AKP through clientelism and patronage.
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