Anti-populist coups d’état in the twenty-first century: reasons, dynamics and consequences

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2021

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Taylor & Francis

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item.page.issne

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There is a burgeoning literature on how to deal with populism in advanced liberal democracies, which puts a strong emphasis on legalist and pluralist methods. There is also a new and expanding literature that looks at the consequences of coups d’état for democracies by employing large-N data sets. These two recent literatures, however, do not speak to one another, based on the underlying assumption that coups against populists were a distinctly twentieth-century Latin American phenomenon. Yet the cases of Venezuela in 2002, Thailand in 2006 and Turkey in 2016 show that anti-populist coups have also occurred in the twenty-first century. Focussing on these cases, the article enquires about the extent to which military coups succeed against populists. The main finding is that although anti-populist coups may initially take over the government, populism survives in the long run. Thus, anti-populist coups fail in their own terms and they do not succeed in eradicating populism. In fact, in the aftermath of a coup, populism gains further legitimacy against what it calls repressive elites, while possibilities for democratisation are further eroded. This is because populists tap into existing socio-cultural divides and politically mobilise the hitherto underrepresented sectors in their societies that endure military interventions.

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VENEZUELA, TURKEY, THAILAND, CIVIL–MILITARY RELATIONS, POPULISM

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© 2021 Global South Ltd

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