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FINAL EXAM READINGS REVIEW SHEET Summary: “ The Rise of Competitive Authoritarianism ” - Steve Levitsky and Lucan Way ( Journal of Democracy, April 2002) [] ______________________________________________________________________________ In Africa and the former Soviet Union, political regimes are either hybrid (combining democratic rules with authoritarian governance) or authoritarian. Many political scientists refer to hybrid political regimes as “semidemocracy,” “virtual democracy,” “pseudodemocracy,” and “electoral authoritarianism.” Authors Levitsky and Way acknowledge that these analyses are biased towards democracy and imply that the authoritarian regimes are moving in a democratic direction, when that is not always the case. For example, while Mexico moved towards democracy, Belarus moved towards authoritarianism. Additionally, Levitsky and Way assert that giving general hybrid terms to different regimes is a vice because each government is different from the next. A competitive authoritarian regime is a regime in which “formal democratic institutions are widely viewed as the principal means of obtaining and exercising political authority” (52). An example of a competitive authoritarian regime is Serbia under the rule of Slobodan Milošević. Levitsky and Way note that a democratic regime must have the four following characteristics: o Executives and legislatures that are chosen through fair and free elections o Universal suffrage o Political rights and civil liberties (such as freedom of the press) for all citizens o Elected authorities have the authority to rule, but not to govern over the military or “clerical leaders” (53). Competitive authoritarian regimes often violate one or more of these characteristics. Levitsky and Way continue their article as they describe the four arenas of democratic contestation: o The electoral arena – in authoritarian regimes, elections are not closely contested, or they do not exist at all. Opposition parties are banned from participating, which ensures the power of the existing regime. In competitive authoritarian regimes, elections are highly contested, and incumbents often commit fraud, which generates uncertainty in the elections. o The legislative arena – in full-scale authoritarian regimes, legislatures are controlled by the ruling party or do not exist at all. In competitive authoritarian regimes, legislatures are weak and are often occupied by the opposition party. For the opposition, the legislatures are a forum to denounce the current regime. o The judicial arena – in competitive authoritarian regimes, the judiciary is the subordinate of the aforementioned arenas, and is subordinated through acts of impeachment and extortion, for example. o
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This test prep was uploaded on 02/01/2009 for the course GOVT 131 taught by Professor Kenroberts during the Spring '07 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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