Presidential Succession and Democratic Transitions

42 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2007

Date Written: March 2007


Why might presidential succession in partly- and non-democratic regimes render the probability of democratic transition more likely? Many presidential regimes in developing world are highly personalist and their stability depends on the strength of their rulers. Transitions are often initiated and driven by elite splits, and the process of presidential succession triggers these splits and uncertainty along the chain of command. Building upon previous work on liberalizing elections (Howard and Roessler 2006), I find that presidential designated successors lose elections more often than the long-standing incumbents, which increases the probability of democratic change, since the former compete against the pro-democratic opposition in a recent, 1990-2004 period. I also find that the presence of hegemonic parties mitigates these effects.

Suggested Citation

Baturo, Alexander, Presidential Succession and Democratic Transitions (March 2007). IIIS Discussion Paper No. 209, Available at SSRN: or

Alexander Baturo (Contact Author)

Trinity College (Dublin) ( email )

2-3 College Green
Dublin, Leinster D2

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