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Extending contestation: opposition party strength and dissenting civil society engagement with autocratic elections
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.ORCID iD: 000-0002-1520-4191
2024 (English)In: Contemporary Politics, ISSN 1356-9775, E-ISSN 1469-3631, Vol. 30, no 1, p. 21-43Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

How does the strength of political-party opposition affect government-critical civil society organisations (CSOs)’ engagement with autocratic elections? The question is particularly pertinent in the current context of deepening autocratization and repression of civic dissent. In this article, I explore the argument that strong opposition parties or coalitions facilitate CSOs’ acts of dissent by offering robust dual electoral contestation: they credibly compete for power and forcefully politicise electoral regulation. Strong opposition parties thereby change the incentives for dissent and make civic activism more possible and meaningful. The article investigates this through a qualitative comparison of two cases of autocratisation: Kenya with a strong opposition, and Uganda with a weak one. The analysis largely supports the argument. However, the comparison also demonstrates that even with a strong opposition, autocratisation makes CSO dissent a dangerous activity that requires a careful balancing between rewards and risks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2024. Vol. 30, no 1, p. 21-43
Keywords [en]
electoral authoritarianism, opposition parties, civil society, Kenya, Uganda
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-508672DOI: 10.1080/13569775.2023.2228079ISI: 001020812900001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-508672DiVA, id: diva2:1785942
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2019-03444Available from: 2023-08-07 Created: 2023-08-07 Last updated: 2024-05-20Bibliographically approved

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Sjögren, Anders

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