Non-Competitive Elections in Europe

  • Juan J. Linz


For those who assume that elections are an opportunity for the citizen to express freely his preference for alternative leadership and programmes, the question tends to be, ‘Why elections at all when the rulers are unlikely to give up their power whatever the outcome?’1 Our assumption here is that if there are elections they must have some functions from the point of view of the leadership of the country, and some consequences for the political system, and the voters mut have some reason to participate in them. Any adequate analysis of elections would have to answer the following list of questions.
  1. (1)

    What functions do those elections have from the point of view of the rulers, both explicitly in their statements and implicitly in their minds?

  2. (2)

    What consequences do such elections actually have for the political system, whether intended or unintended, functional or dysfunctional?

  3. (3)

    What motivates voters to participate in non-competitive and semicompetitive elections and plebiscites? Their motivations may or may not be in accord with the reasons why the rulers require their participation.

  4. (4)

    What consequences does participation have for voters independently of their intent?

  5. (5)

    What is the significance of the electoral process for the candidates in non-competitive and semi-competitive elections?



Authoritarian Regime Electoral Process Party System Ruling Group Opposition Parti 
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© Juan J. Linz 1978

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  • Juan J. Linz

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