Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Josef Korbel School of International Studies

First Advisor

Martin Rhodes


Authoritarian, Elections, Electoral rules, Elites, Jordan, Morocco


What explains the resilience of authoritarian regimes in the face of regular competitive elections that ostensibly should promote democratic transitions? This dissertation examines both why and how parliamentary elections in Jordan and Morocco have served to reinforce these two Arab monarchies. In doing so, it develops a framework in which the degree of cohesion among incumbent and opposition elites shape electoral system design and, in turn, particular electoral rules structure mass political attitudes and elite configurations. The main argument is that lower electoral thresholds generate unique electoral environments in which patronage politics thrive and opposition-based politics falter, thus producing a decidedly uneven playing field. In the end, this study examines four additional case studies from the Arab world in order to construct a typological theory about the conditions under which elections reinforce or undermine regime stability and then discusses the policy implications for democracy assistance programs. This project is grounded within the classic and contemporary literature on the role of elites in democratic transitions, the design and functioning of electoral systems and the relationship between elections and authoritarianism. The research design is based on a comparison of "most similar" cases and utilizes a "mixed method" approach that draws from qualitative and quantitative data. The empirical analysis, which focuses on the 2007 parliamentary elections in Jordan and Morocco, is derived from intensive fieldwork in both countries.


Copyright is held by the author.


Recieved from ProQuest

Rights holder

Andrew Barwig

File size

262 p.

File format





Political Science, Near Eastern studies, Middle Eastern studies