In the Southern Caucasus and the Black Sea Region
Structural Causes of “Colour Revolutions”: Postelectoral Mobilization and Outcomes in the South Caucasus
Introduction: Fraudulent Elections, Legitimacy Crises and Fates of Regimes
ABSTRACT: This chapter compares postelectoral protest mobilization in Azerbaijan in 2003 and in 2005, Georgia in 2003 and Armenia in 2008, to examine causes and dynamics of popular mobilization and the breakdown of authoritarian regimes. Structural explanations are tested on the three cases using several indicators of regimes’ structural weaknesses. Evidence from the cases suggests that incumbent capacity, including availability of rents, regime type and media freedom, plays a significant role, while high levels of property privatization, vibrant civil society and anti-incumbent regional identity do not. The findings call into question some of the previous findings. However, for greater confidence in the results further research is needed using a larger and more diverse sample of cases.
KEYWORDS: South Caucasus, authoritarianism, protest, colour revolutions, structural causes, incumbent capacity
If authoritarian regimes are most vulnerable during leadership succession (Hale, 2005), Eduard Shevardnadze was safe in his seat in 2003. Unlike Ilham Aliev or Robert Kocharyan in neighbouring Azerbaijan and Armenia, respectively, Shevardnadze was not a lame duck during the controversial elections of 2003 because presidential elections were scheduled only for early 2005. Moreover, after parliamentary elections of 2003, protesters initially demanded a rerun of the elections, not Shevardnadze’s resignation. So why did the regime collapse in 2003? Was it because of irreconcilable divisions inside elites during the succession crises or the unity and strength of the opposition? ← 45 | 46 →
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