Publication | Report/Paper

IFES’ 2014 Hybl Fellow Examines Hybrid Regimes

The William and Kathy Hybl Fellowship, funded by William Hybl, Vice Chairman of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) Board of Directors and wife, Kathy, brings an outstanding graduate student every year from the Rocky Mountain region to Washington, D.C. to conduct research in democracy-building.

Previous fellows have found the Hybl Fellowship an excellent boost to their careers in international development or research. Hosted by IFES, a leader in international elections assistance, Hybl Fellows have direct access to IFES experts in democracy-building and research. Fellows also benefit from Washington D.C.’s wide network of democracy professionals, institutions and resources.

This year’s 2014 Hybl fellow is Megan Hauser, a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona. Her research at IFES explored elections in non-democratic hybrid regimes, focusing on how the conditions of an election may affect political party and candidate behavior, and party-voter linkage strategies, including variation in programmatic party positions, negative/coercive appeals and the abuse of state resources. She is particularly interested in elections in the former Soviet Union, including Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Ukraine.

As part of her fellowship, Hauser prepared a paper for IFES titled, “Political Accountability or Political Evasion? An Examination of Politician-Voter Linkages in Hybrid Regimes.” The paper explores the relationship between the conditions of elections and the types of strategies and political messages used by political parties and candidates. More specifically, this paper focuses on hybrid regimes, countries that maintain regular democratic institutions like elections but which are typically marred by unfairness and authoritarian behavior. Within democratic societies, elections are intended to provide voters with a mechanism with which to hold political parties and elected officials accountable. For this mechanism to function properly, voters need to understand the policy and program positions of politicians. Recognizing that the political process and politics more generally are underdeveloped and often hindered by authoritarian practices in hybrid regimes, this paper is interested in understanding how political parties and candidates try to connect with voters under these circumstances.