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Disputed Elections and Legitimacy What comes after matters! Dr. Jeff Key AP Comparative Politics Workshop Boston, MA April 10, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Disputed Elections and Legitimacy What comes after matters! Dr. Jeff Key AP Comparative Politics Workshop Boston, MA April 10, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Disputed Elections and Legitimacy What comes after matters! Dr. Jeff Key AP Comparative Politics Workshop Boston, MA April 10, 2010

2 The Power of Elections We invest elections with great significance … “By a democratic regime, we mean a set of institutions that allow the citizens to choose the makers of public policy in free, competitive elections…” “Countries with free and fair elections for the real policymakers and eligibility of all adults meet the minimum requirements for procedural democracy.” Almond and Powell …but give them little critical reflection.

3 Elections and Legitimacy What comes AFTER elections is important! Does acceptance of election outcomes reflect legitimacy? ◦Even in authoritarian systems, elections facilitate participation. What if election outcomes are challenged? ◦How the government responds to post-election challenges impacts its legitimacy.

4 Post-election Protests & Government Response Leaders of losing parties often challenge election results and promote protests that the government must address. Failure to stop such protests undermines the government’s ability to rule and its legitimacy. Challenged results Post- election protests Government response

5 Post-election Protests and Legitimacy HOW the government addresses post- election protests is important. ◦Can it be done without coercion? ◦Is coercion needed? Post-election protests No coercion Reinforces legitimacy? Coercion Undercuts legitimacy?

6 Post-election Remedies Matter! Election Results challenged Adjudicated by election courts or commission Reinforces legitimacy? No institutions for dispute resolution Undercuts legitimacy? Results accepted Reinforces legitimacy? Institutions and processes to resolve election disputes help to absorb conflict. Forms…election commissions or courts

7 What to look for after elections… Percentage of eligible votes cast ◦Would you believe 100% participation? Size of “gap” between winner and losers ◦What’s sparks protests, close races or landslides? Reports of post-election protests and government responses ◦How widespread/intense are protests? ◦Is force is used to suppress them? Length of time between election date and date of final declaration of winner ◦Is a longer period “better”?

8 Three Cases Mexico Nigeria Iran 2006 Calderon win challenged 2007 Yar’Adua win challenged 2009 Ahmadinejad win challenged

9 Mexico 2006 Turnout: 59% Winner: Filipe Calderon (35.89%) Closest rival: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (35.31%) Election date: July 2 Confirmed: September 5 by the Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judiciary (TEPJF)

10 Nigeria 2007 Turnout: est. 57.5% Winner: Amadu Yar’Adua (70%) Closest rival: Muhammadu Buhari (18.72%) Election date: April 21 Confirmed: April 23 by Independent National Election Commission (INEC)

11 Iran 2009 Turnout: 85% Winner: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (62.63%) Closest rival: Mir-Hossein Mousavi (33.75%) Election date: June 12 Confirmed: June 29 by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (Guardian Council asked him to extend the required election complaint period an additional five days.)

12 Useful Election Websites resources/election-watch resources/election-watch bserved.html#table bserved.html#table muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_democr acy/election_watch ( only) muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_democr acy/election_watch


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