Att bygga hållbar opposition i elektorala autokratier

Tidsperiod: 2015-01-01 till 2017-12-31

Projektledare: Sofie Bedford

Finansiär: Vetenskapsrådet

Bidragstyp: Projektbidrag

Budget: 4 950 000 SEK

This is a comparative study of opposition as work in progress in two electoral autocratic regimes: Belarus and Azerbaijan. Harsh conditions and internal problems have contributed to opposition parties in these countries being dismissed as failed. We question this and argue that repression and political manipulation have not eliminated opposition but given it a dynamic and transformational character. The project has three main aims: investigate recent organizational changes within Azerbaijani and Belarusian oppositions; observe and analyze the new opposition dynamics in action; and develop a toolbox on how to build a constructive opposition. The theoretical start is Bounce & Wolchik´s electoral model arguing that consolidation and actions of oppositional actors is more important than structural factors for regime change. Empirically, focusing on 2015 elections in Azerbaijan and Belarus, we will shed light on if and how opposition has managed to overcome its systematic failures and build a sustainable alternative political strategy. The study is based on interviews with politicians and democracy activists and debriefing workshops where observations will be shared, challenged and refined in talks with local and international activists, practitioners and researchers. The knowledge generated is important in the formulation of development policies towards the region. Our findings will be valuable tool for those involved in democracy assistance as well as those working for change.