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Do Ballots Break Barricades? Parliamentary Responsiveness and Protest Trends during Algeria’s Hirak Uprising
Abstract by Jérémie Langlois
Coauthors: Marwa Shalaby
On Session IX-16  (Frontiers in the Studies of Middle East Contentious Politics)

On Saturday, November 4 at 3:00 pm

2023 Annual Meeting

Authoritarian legislatures perform a variety of core functions that define how autocrats, and their regimes, wield and hold on to power in the 21st century. Most of the literature on authoritarian institutions tends to assume that parliaments are either neutral or net positives for regime stability. However, one emerging debate explores how, whether, and under what conditions authoritarian legislatures might mitigate or exacerbate social protest during moments of mass mobilization. Using the case of Algeria, this study analyzes protest event data and parliamentary data to assess how legislative responsiveness from late 2012 to late 2018 maps onto subnational variation in protests during the Hirak uprising. Our analysis points toward a negative relationship between responsiveness and relative levels of protest at the subnational level. However, the tests also reveal several counterintuitive trends regarding the temporal scope of these potential effects. Leveraging qualitative data to analyze paired comparisons between several key provinces, we test alternative explanations and sketch out plausible mechanisms to provide possible explanations for these trends. We suggest that our findings hold broader implications for the study of authoritarian persistence and how to conceptualize interactions between various authoritarian institutions in moments of crisis.
Political Science
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