Securitization, fear politics, and the formation of an opposition alliance in competitive authoritarian regimes

Ethem Ilbiz, Christian Kaunert*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    This article examines how opposition parties with diverse ideologies can form alliances in competitive authoritarian regimes despite the securitization strategy used by authoritarian incumbents. Using Turkey as a case study, the article demonstrates that an authoritarian leader may associate terrorism with opposition parties and may disseminate this fear to manipulate moderate voters and prevent coalition formation between niche parties. By analysing public speeches of political actors in Turkey, the study argues that if opposition parties recognize the vulnerabilities of the regime and believe that forming an alliance would gain support from the masses and encourage cross-party voting, then the securitization strategy would not deter them from forming a pre-electoral alliance. However, the failure of the securitization strategy to prevent opposition parties from forming an alliance does not guarantee opposition victory in elections. The securitization strategy employed by the authoritarian regime can still be utilized to effectively empower the authoritarian leader, enabling them to win elections by capitalizing on fear and depicting the opposition alliance as a security threat and a potential source of instability if they were to come into power.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1604-1624
    Number of pages21
    JournalDemocratization
    Volume30
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2023

    Keywords

    • alliance
    • authoritarianism
    • coordination
    • information
    • Securitization
    • Turkey
    • vulnerability

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