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Explaining Transitions from Neopatrimonial Dictatorships

Richard Snyder
Comparative Politics
Vol. 24, No. 4 (Jul., 1992), pp. 379-399
DOI: 10.2307/422151
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/422151
Page Count: 21
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Explaining Transitions from Neopatrimonial Dictatorships
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Abstract

Transitions from neopatrimonial dictatorships follow a variety of trajectories: military coup leading to military dictatorship, revolution, and nonrevolutionary transition to civilian rule. This article examines the nonrevolutionary cases of the Philippines, Haiti, Paraguay, and Zaire, alongside the revolutionary cases of Nicaragua, Iran, and Cuba. Three variables account for the varied transitions from neopatrimonialism: the degree of military institutional autonomy, the strength of moderate opposition groups, and the strength of revolutionaries. Three critical relationships shape these variables: the relationships between the ruler and the military, between the ruler and domestic elites, and between domestic actors and foreign powers. Revolution is likely when the military lacks autonomy, revolutionaries are strong, and moderates are weak. Military coup is likely when revolutionaries and moderates are weak and military autonomy is high. Stability is likely when revolutionaries and moderates are weak and the military lacks autonomy. Direct transition to democracy is rare yet possible when moderates are strong and military autonomy is high.

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