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By Valerie J. Bunce, Sharon L. Wolchik

From 1998 to 2005, six elections happened in postcommunist Europe and Eurasia that had the miraculous final result of empowering the competition and defeating authoritarian incumbents or their particular successors. Valerie J. Bunce and Sharon L. Wolchik examine those unforeseen electoral breakthroughs - with each other and with elections that had the extra commonplace results of protecting authoritarian rule. They draw 3 conclusions. First, the competition was once effective as a result of the tough and artistic paintings of a transnational community composed of neighborhood competition and civil society teams, participants of the overseas democracy counsel group, and graduates of profitable electoral demanding situations to authoritarian rule in different international locations. moment, the awesome run of those disappointed elections mirrored the facility of this community to diffuse an ensemble of cutting edge electoral ideas throughout country obstacles. ultimately, elections can function a robust mechanism for democratic swap. this can be specially the case while civil society is powerful, the move of political strength is thru constitutional ability, and competition leaders win with small mandates.

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Tarrow, Transnational Protest and Global Activism: People, Passions, and Power (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005); Doug McAdam, Sidney G. Tarrow, and Charles Tilly, “Comparative Perspectives on Contentious Politics,” in Ideas, Interests and Institutions: Advancing Theory in Comparative Politics, second edition, ed. , Social Movements and Networks: Relational Approaches to Collective Action (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003). 44 See, for instance, Brinks and Coppedge, “Diffusion Is No Illusion”; Harvey Starr and Christina Lindborg, “Democratic Dominoes Revisited: The Hazards of Governmental 42 18 Part I.

O’Donnell, Philippe C. Schmitter, and Laurence Whitehead, Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Latin America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986); Laurence Whitehead, “Three International Dimensions of Democratization,” in The International Dimensions of Democratization: Europe and the Americas, ed. Laurence Whitehead (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 3–25; and Richard Youngs, International Democracy and the West: The Roles of Governments, Civil Society, and Multinational Business (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).

49 As a result, it would seem reasonable to expect that the diffusion of politically charged innovations, such as new strategies for removing authoritarians from power, would require the presence of not just one but several supportive mechanisms. 49 On resistance to democratic change in this region, see, for example, Vitali Silitski, “Contagion Deterred: Preemptive Authoritarianism in the Former Soviet Union,” in Democracy and Authoritarianism in the Postcommunist World, ed. Valerie Bunce, Michael McFaul, and Kathryn Stoner-Weiss (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 274–299; Regine A.

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