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How Authoritarians Win When They Lose – Journal of Democracy

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How Authoritarians Win When They Lose

  • Article by Sultan Tepe & Ayça Alemdaroğlu

Journal of Democracy, October 2021, volume 32, issue 4

Abstract: What happens when authoritarian populist parties lose elections despite a tilted playing field? Postelection capture might be their new tool: Confronted with losses in the 2016 and 2019 local elections, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) set about undoing the results by dismissing over 150 democratically elected mayors—mostly in predominantly Kurdish cities—and replaced them with state-appointed trustees or kayyums. These political captures expand the AKP’s patronage networks through what we call forced clientelism and further polarization, thereby undermining the formation of a stronger prodemocratic coalition.

To read the article online: How Authoritarians Win When They Lose

Sultan Tepe is associate professor of political science at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Ayça Alemdaroğlu is associate director of the program on Turkey at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University.

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