Why Electoral Malpractices Generate Pressures for Electoral Reform: An Agenda-Setting Model
38 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2012 Last revised: 10 Aug 2012
Date Written: 2012
Do electoral malpractices strengthen public pressures for reform? The study develops an agenda-setting model postulating that where flawed elections fail to meet international standards of electoral integrity, this colors public perceptions of electoral malpractices, undermines feelings of political legitimacy, dampens voter turnout, and encourages protest politics. To support these claims, Part I sets out the theoretical framework and core propositions. Part II outlines the research design, data, and indices. Data is drawn from a new battery of survey evidence measuring perceptions of electoral integrity and malpractices, included for the first time in the 6th wave of the World Values Survey 2010-2012 (WVS).
The results in Part III confirm that public perceptions of electoral integrity closely reflect independent assessments of the quality of elections in the countries under comparison. Moreover, lack of confidence in elections undermines feelings of political legitimacy and encourages protest activism.
The conclusion in Part IV theorizes that this process strengthens the likelihood that elites will respond to popular pressures, although the outcome may be democratic concessions, or state repression, or regime transitions, depending upon the type of regime.
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