Thesis: Relationship between democracy and civil war is open ended



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Kissane and Sitter, Civil Wars…..

  • Thesis: Relationship between democracy and civil war is open ended

    • Potential pluralism and the winner’s quest for dominance are therefore closely linked to regime outcomes

  • Civil Wars, Democratization, and Regime Outcomes

    • Choice of five cases to study all sharing the following characteristics

      • Involves armed clashes that result in a considerable # of violent deaths

      • Govt. v. armed opposition

      • Takes place within one political unit (State)

    • Differing outcomes within cases

    • Regime consolidation

      • Dynamics of regime consolidation links to the winner’s control of state institutions

      • Fundamental distinction between regimes: Can you remove a government without bloodshed (i.e. electorally)

      • Alexander: Democracy can only happen when the losers become moderates and leave their civil war past behind them

        • Others say it happens when BOP shifts toward leftist forces committed to democracy

      • Kissane: Independent variable determining regime consolidation is the strength of the right vis a vis civil war losers….economic development creates strong working class organization and a vigorous civil society….anti-democratic right becomes less able to establish electoral dominance and exclusion of the left carries heavier costs for the right

      • Three Key sets of variables

        • Unity and cohesiveness of the winners

        • Institutional means by which right maintains dominance

        • Extent to which losers adopt moderate strategies

  • The Fate of the Winning Coalition

    • Key variable determining whether military victory resulted in political dominance was fate of winning coalition

      • Ireland: Coalition dissolved and subsequent politics was marred by conflict

      • Finland: Coalition cracked due to disputes of regime type

      • Greece: American pressure helped keep Centre and Right coalition in place

      • Hungary: Broad national coalition in place….however no fundamental agreement on role of monarchy….this meant that a counter-revolutionary force came into play and broke up the coalition

      • Spain: Franco tactfully used memory of civil war to maintain winning coalition

  • Institutional Manipulation

    • Four of five cases…..electoral rules of the games were manipulated

    • Institutional manipulation…..depended on winners’ preferences, unity and strategy…..this in turn depends on whether or not civil war was fought over democracy or not.

      • Ireland no real institutional manipulation

      • Finland: Anti-communist laws meant social democrats only party on the left

      • Greece: Right used old census (one in which villages, the Right’s stronghold, still had most of their population intact) to ensure their parties came to power under a semi-majoritarian system

      • Hungary: Prime Minister’s direct control over local authorities meant that he could use them to manipulate the vote….also franchise included only about 28% of population, excluded Peasantry

      • Spain: Openly Fascist

  • The Losers’ strategies

    • Ireland: Losers’ adopted electoral strategy to outflank winners on socioeconomic issues….moderated in this sense

    • Finland: Coalition was soon formed between winner’s and losers because Social Democrats came to be seen as more moderate than the other extreme right/left that the winners’ had to deal with.

    • Greece: Loser was also divided……EDA was seen as a Communist puppent and so a new party was formed to counteract them

      • Division on both left and right…..led military takeover in 1967

    • Hungary: Socialists…..signed a deal that brought them in mainstream electoral competititon

    • Spain: Disarray in losers camp meant that there was very little question of a ‘strategy’

Table 1 CIVIL WAR CASES, OUTCOMES AND KEY VARIABLES

Case

Outcome

Winners' coalition

Institutions

Losers' strategies

Ireland

Democratic consolidation (alternation in power)

Divided (minority)

Open

Significant moderation

Finland

Democratic consolidation (losers in coalition)

Divided

Restrictive (mildly)

Significant moderation

Greece

Hybrid: Winners dominate politics

Divided

Restrictive

Little moderation

Hungary

Hybrid: Winners dominate politics

Unified

Restrictive

Significant moderation

Spain

Winners' authoritarianism

Unified

Restrictive (severely)

Little moderation



  • combination of a divided winners' coalition and significant moderation on the losing side (Ireland and Finland) appears sufficient to lead to democratic consolidation.

  • However, where the winning coalition maintains unity and the rules for competition are restrictive (Spain and Hungary), the losers' strategy matters little or not at all.

  • Where the losers do not adopt a moderate stance and institutions are restrictive, even a divided winners' coalition may prevail.

    • In short where two of the three variables worked against democratic consolidation, an authoritarian outcome was guaranteed


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