Elections and Legitimacy in Authoritarian Regimes
Kakuba, Sultan Juma
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Holding periodic democratic elections is one of the principal ingredients of liberal democracy. This practice has also been adopted by authoritarian regimes not for purposes of promoting democracy but to gather legitimacy support to stay in power as well as seeking acceptance in the eyes of both domestic and international communities. Based on dataset of elections in Muslim dominated countries, particularly Egypt and Sudan, respectively, the paper suggests that elections are a sufficient mechanism to mobilise support to keep authoritarian regimes in power. These Muslim countries have had periodic elections but little has been extended to other fundamental tenets of democracy such as freedom of speech, respect of human rights and freedom of press among others. Instead, leaders have used these elections as a license to market their position to hold onto power rather than allowing it to be a competitive game to cause change as people may wish. This study attempts a comparison between authoritarian elections in Sudan (1989-2011) and Egypt (1981-2011). The arguments and analysis given in this paper are based on presidential election dataset country profile of these two Muslim countries obtained from African elections database.
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