Published on 23 Jan 2020

​​Public Policy and Global Affairs Seminar | Is It Worth It? Building Opposition Alliances in Electoral Autocracies

EventIs It Worth It? Building Opposition Alliances in Electoral Autocracies
Dr Elvin Ong
Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute of Asian Research
School of Public Policy and Global Affairs
University of British Columbia, Canada
Date23 January 2020 (Thursday)
Time2:00pm – 4:00pm
VenueConference Room (SHHK-05-57), 48 Nanyang Avenue

Forming opposition pre-electoral alliances significantly enhances the chances of opposition victory against incumbent autocrats. But opposition parties frequently find it difficult to make the costly compromises necessary for inter-party coordination. When and how do opposition parties build pre-electoral alliances? My book project argues that perceptions of incumbent regime vulnerability combined with perceptions of inter-party complementarity shape opposition elites’ incentives to build pre-electoral alliances. I illustrate my arguments through a comparative historical analysis of 1980s autocratic Philippines and South Korea, triangulating empirical evidence from newspaper reports, Congressional hearing transcripts, and declassified foreign policy documents from the CIA, Department of State, and the National Security Council in the Reagan era. I also discuss the theory’s implications for analyzing opposition party conflict and cooperation in Singapore from 1965 till the next general elections due by April 2021.