Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Josef Korbel School of International Studies

First Advisor

Jack Donnelly, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Martin Rhodes

Third Advisor

Timothy Sisk


Democratic transition theories, Democratization, Gray zone, Hybrid political system, International IDEA, Regime studies


Countries that come out of the "gray zone" during "third wave democratization," as ambiguous as they may seem politically, may not be a manifestation of a failed democratization attempt. Rather, their "hybrid" characteristics, portraying neither a full democracy nor outright authoritarian practices entrenched in the system, may plausibly serve as a panacea to governing, especially in a troubled state.

Many studies that have depicted the "hybrid" political system have focused more on its conceptualization and typology rather than how this kind of regime actually performs and functions. However, studying this regime type only at its surface does not help us to understand the in-depth nature of a hybrid regime nor its political setup. A thorough assessment is needed for this purpose. Therefore, this case study evaluates the performance of the hybrid political system that is practiced in Malaysia.

This study assesses the two democratic principles of popular control and political equality, using the assessment framework prepared by the internationally based intergovernmental organization, the International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), whose aim is to support sustainable democracy around the world. The method prepared by International IDEA was based on the claim that "democracy is not an all-or-nothing affair" but is a shifting continuum. The IDEA method acknowledges that the democracy practiced in some countries is not perfect and is subject to the country's historical experiences, demographics, cultures, and realities.

This study's results suggest that having partially practiced democratic principles, with support from semi-authoritarian apparatus, produces a political system with both positive and negative components that both facilitate regime transition and democratization as well as reinforce regime incumbency and dampen democratization. This study shows that, ultimately, the interactions between the positive and negative components may produce balancing mechanisms that help to strengthen both the regime's persistence and the country's resilience.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Siti Razali


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

303 p.


International relations, Political Science

Included in

Asian Studies Commons