Does Electoral Authoritarianism Persist? A Comparison of Recent Elections in Fiji, Seychelles, and Maldives

  • Mosmi Bhim


The majority of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are democracies; however, a few SIDS have experienced coups and subsequent installation of authoritarian regimes. After Fiji, Seychelles, and Maldives attained independence from Great Britain in the 1960s–1970s, coups and features of authoritarianism emerged there at different times. Fiji is located in the Pacific Ocean and has a multiethnic population of over 800,000 people. Maldives and Seychelles are located in the Indian Ocean with populations of over 400,000 and 93,000 people, respectively. The post-coup, single-party, and/or one-man rule regimes in the three countries are examples of authoritarian rule. Eventually, the three countries returned to multiparty elections which were manipulated to serve particular interests. A look at the course back to multiparty electoral democracy in the aftermath of coups shows that instead of democracy, the new, modern, and hybrid forms of authoritarianism—such as authoritarian elections, competitive authoritarianism, and electoral autocracy—emerged. An analysis of the conduct of multiparty elections shows executive interference in elections through repressive laws, judicial manipulation, interference in the independence of electoral bodies, politicised disciplined forces, and lack of separation of the state and ruling party including state-sponsored media, which led to multiparty elections resulting in an autocratic government rather than an electoral democracy.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mosmi Bhim
    • 1
  1. 1.University of New EnglandNorthern TablelandsAustralia

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