Recent referendums show that autocratic regimes consult voters even if the outcome is a foregone conclusion. They have been doing so with increasing frequency since Napoleon consulted French citizens in 1800. Why and when do dictatorial regimes hold referendums they are certain they will win? Analysing the 162 referendums held in autocratic and non-free states in the period 1800–2012, the article shows that referendums with a 99% yes-vote tend to occur in autocracies with high ethnic fractionalization and, in part, in sultanistic (tinpot or tyrannical) regimes, but generally not in communist (totalitarian) states. An explanation is proposed for this variation.
|Number of pages||18|
|Journal||Government and Opposition|
|Early online date||10 Aug 2018|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2020|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Public Administration