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ECPR Futures Lab 2020

Learning to Rig Elections: Evidence from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan

Comparative Politics
Samuele Dominioni
Sciences Po Paris
Samuele Dominioni
Sciences Po Paris

This research explores the different methods of electoral frauds and electoral malpractices that took place in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia since their independence. Thanks to a comparative analysis this research is able, on one hand, to investigate electoral frauds’ similarities and divergences among countries and, on the other, to underline examples of shared knowledge and practices. As this research shows, there have been cases where incumbents have learned from each other both new techniques of electoral misconducts in order to avoid electoral defeats. This paper claims that incumbents’ learning played a substantial role affecting the quality of the elections and eventually the persistence of non-democratic practices in these countries.

From a methodological standpoint, this paper adopts Bank/Edel’s approach (2015), which focuses on the practices concerned and then retraces the causal chain to evaluate whether it is an example of learning mechanism or not. In order to do so, I am going to carefully evaluate the time-sequence of each case study and check it with an intra-regional comparison with other cases. This analysis relies on several primary sources such as electoral observation reports, newspaper articles and in-person interviews.
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