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Legalism as election fraud

Wednesday, January 16, 2019, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Across the globe, different practices are used for manipulating elections. By now, the striving literature on electoral integrity has produced a fair amount of work on most common malpractices, from asymmetrical party finance regulations and unequal access to media to the most trivial election day manipulation such as ballot box stuffing or multiple voting. This said, relatively little work is done on what appears as a distinct, however an effective method of electoral fraud where the meaning of law is manipulated to undermine the level playing field, persecute electoral opponents or create more favorable conditions for a party in any other way. Yet, the described practices are widely applied in aspiring or façade democracies, where the nations lack independent judiciaries and the law enforcement is controlled by the incumbents. In such regimes, any law, including constitutions, is subject to manipulative interpretation by self-electing political elites for their reproduction. This talk will come up with a comprehensive comparative account of political legalism as electoral fraud, its consequences and implications for policy and reform, both domestic and international.