Can the "Halfway House" Stand? Semidemocracy and Elite Theory in Three Southeast Asian Countries

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-464
Journal / PublicationComparative Politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1996
Externally publishedYes


Most recent studies of regime change have focused on democratic transitions. Many argue that democracy is a stable regime form, especially when secured through elite negotiations and pacted agreements. Conversely, semidemocracies that limit participation but allow relatively open elections are thought to be unstable because of skewed elite relations. However, semidemocratic regimes can be stable. Three cases in Southeast Asia illustrate this possibility. These cases also give more attention to the constraints of social constituents on elite actions; sets of vertical . linkages ultimately prevail over but do not ruthlessly eliminate other linkages. Configurations of elite relations and constituent pressures can produce semi-democratic regimes that persist over long periods.