The Oxymoron of the Internet Voting in Illiberal and Hybrid Political Contexts
This paper explores the phenomenon of e-voting, in particular, new i-voting technologies, within the context of hybrid and authoritarian political regimes. While e-voting and i-voting are not particularly widespread, more and more illiberal countries are implementing these innovations, which has been overlooked in the academia so far. The paper attempts to fill in this gap. Firstly, we provide a general overview of the problem and identify the key features of non-democracies adopting e-voting and i-voting. Secondly, we explore the case of Russia, a hybrid regime, which may become a role model for other countries in the near future. The research exposes the potential of e-voting, and in particular, i-voting as a tool for the regime stability and provides some avenues of the future research.
The book is devoted to the causes and special aspects of modern authoritarian political regimes, which differ from their last century analogues with a pronounced imitative character. Hamstrung by democratic constitutions and international obligations, many post-socialist countries actually mimic democratic institutions and procedures, trying to hide real authoritarianism behind a beautiful democratic signboard. It turns out that the level of authoritarianism is directly proportional to the imitations level. The study also proves that the imitations level is also proportional to the levels of aggression, corruption and poverty. What are the reasons for the rise of imitative political regimes? How and by what means is their constitutional field transformed? On what grounds can they be identified in advance? The book attempts to answer these questions in the name of preventing the threat of return of authoritarianism in the post-socialist countries.
The past several years there has been a stable interest of non-democracies towards the institute of electronic participation. The article addresses the possible reasons of the concept’s popularity and factors of its successful implementation. It is argued that e-participation allows solving internal problems of Internet - control and legitimacy, as well as boosting up international socialization and economic competitiveness. Hence functions of e-participation are quite similar to those performed by other “democratic institutions”. On the basis of the dictator’s digital dilemma and results of empirical analysis it is concluded that e-participation is better developed in countries with higher foreign incentives and lower political risks and economic costs.
Authoritarian regimes differ by the degree to which the leader is constrained in his ability to influence the decision-making process. It has been argued that unlimited executive can either lead to adverse economic policy outcomes or improve economic performance. In this work, I reassess the effect of executive constraints on economic performance. While most of the previous research in this area focuses on regime typologies, I use observable indicators of power personalisation in 90 autocratic countries from 1960-2010 and estimate their effect on economic performance. I focus on power concentration, the extent of the decision-making power of chief executives and leaders’ ability to dismiss the elites form political institutions as the indicators for measuring leaders’ ability to influence the decision-making process. I discover that countries, where leaders are able to stay in office longer and are able to change the cabinet, concentrate more power in their hands and tend to be more opportunistic. The results imply that strong leaders establish such power-sharing mode that allows them to act in a self-interest way.
The Arab Spring affected a large number of countries North Africa, but the intensity and nature of protests were different from one country to another. In some cases, protests led not only to the overthrow of authoritarian leaders, but to civil war and harsh clashes among ethnic and religious groups. Nonetheless, the nature of the regime type that might be said to depict these groups is the “hybrid regime” which combines authoritarianism and some aspects of electoral democracy. Hence, mass protests played the same role among the three hybrid regime countries: Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt.
The political situation in Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt after the Arab Spring revolutions witnessed multi-faceted changes. Based on the theory of political change, we can track different situational, institutional and policy changes that occurred in the three countries after the protests: “New Political Elite” in Tunisia: from Islamists to a regime of technocrats and democrats; Constitutional reforms in Morocco: The steady "Palace" knows well how to play the game with Islamists; The Islamist failure and rise of the army into power in Egypt.
In the selected countries mass protests served as specific triggers for change that led to different kinds of democratic development. The features of every state and a combination of involved actors and key factors determined the nature of such changes, but taking into account general patterns, we could say that the main trend of political and democratic change was certainly close in each case. Therefore, the role of protest publics in hybrid regimes can be described as “triggers” of democracy whereby efforts to democratize are slowly getting off the ground under authoritarian conditions.
On the basis of in-depth case studies of four Russian regions, Kirov and Voronezh oblasts and Krasnoyarsk and Perm' krais, the trade-offs among social and economic policy at the regional level in Russia are examined. All four regional governments seek to develop entrepreneurship while preserving social welfare obligations and improving compensation in the public sector. Richer regions have a greater ability to reconcile social commitments with the promotion of business. Regions differ in their development strategies, some placing greater emphasis on indigenous business development and others seeking to attract federal or foreign investment. Governors have considerable discretion in choosing their strategy so long as they meet basic performance demands set by the federal government such as ensuring good results for the United Russia party. In all four regions, governments consult actively with local business associations whereas organized labor is weak. However, the absence of effective institutions to enforce commitments undertaken by government and its social partners undermines regional capacity to use social policy as a basis for long-term economic development.
This book constitutes the proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Electronic Voting, E-Vote-ID 2020, held online -due to COVID -19- in Bregenz, Austria, in October 2020. The 14 full papers presented were carefully reviewed and selected from 55 submissions.
The conference collected the most relevant debates on the development of Electronic Voting, from aspects relating to security and usability through to practical experiences and applications of voting systems, also including legal, social or political aspects, amongst others; turning out to be an important global referent in relation to this issue.