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“From Voice to Votes: Electoral Movement, Coalitional Politics and Regime Change in Malaysia” by Lynette Ong

August 12, 2020 @ 9:00 am - 10:00 am

Author: Lynette Ong (Toronto).

Abstract: A key obstacle to democratization in competitive authoritarian regimes is the formation of a cohesive and credible opposition coalition. This paper develops a theory to illustrate how a broad-based social movement helps to a) build informal partnership across the otherwise fractured political elites and society; b) informal partnership then contributes to formal coalition building in electoral politics; and c) take advantage of an anti-regime political opportunity to amass the support necessary to defeat the regime. The theory is illustrated by the case of Malaysia. The Bersih movement had allowed opposition elites to forge alliance with other opposition parties, mobilized the civil society, and took advantage of the 1MDB corruption scandal as a unique political opportunity. The broad-based social movement became a platform that united all those who were against the kleptocratic regime, and served as a stepping-stone to a cohesive opposition alliance.

Discussants: TBD.

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