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Title: Authoritarian Regimes in Small Island States: The Anomalous Cases of Electoral Autocracies in Fiji, the Maldives and Seychelles
Contributor(s): Bhim, Mosmi Som Devi (author); Von Strokirch, Karin  (supervisor)orcid ; Garnett, Johanna  (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2021-03-02
Copyright Date: 2020-11-27
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: Authoritarian regimes established through multiparty elections are nearly as prevalent in the world as full democracies and near democracies. Yet most small island developing states (SIDS) are democracies. Despite their diminutive size, Fiji, the Maldives and Seychelles are anomalous because, post-independence, they developed security forces, experienced successful coups, and established authoritarian regimes. This thesis examines political, military and governmental developments in Fiji, the Maldives and Seychelles, before and after they attained independence from Great Britain, to ascertain why autocracies emerged. Deficiencies in democracy contributed to the occurrence of coups, authoritarianism and unaccountable leadership. The nature of politics, the role of defence forces, and the features of authoritarian regimes are explored using theories of authoritarianism, personalist leadership, democratisation and political-military relations. Prevailing international norms resulted in multiparty elections being held, however, authoritarianism persisted in the 21st century through manipulation of elections to produce electoral autocracy, rather than electoral democracy. As a consequence, certain civil and political rights, the media, judiciary, opposition politicians, and civil society were constrained and security forces were manipulated or politicised. The resulting authoritarian elections perpetuated autocratic government. The role of the international community in the development of militaries and authoritarianism in the three SIDS is assessed. The scope for government and citizens to reinstate genuine democracy amidst restrictions is explored using theories of democracy, civil-military relations and international electoral norms.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Field of Research (FoR) 2008: 160603 Comparative Government and Politics
160606 Government and Politics of Asia and the Pacific
160609 Political Theory and Political Philosophy
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 940115 Pacific Peoples Development and Welfare
940203 Political Systems
940304 International Political Economy (excl. International Trade)
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
Description: The Dataset for this Thesis can be found here:
Appears in Collections:Thesis Doctoral

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