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Dangerous contenders : election monitors, Islamic opposition parties and terrorism.

Kavakli, Kerim Can and Kuhn, Patrick M. (2020) 'Dangerous contenders : election monitors, Islamic opposition parties and terrorism.', International organization., 74 (1). pp. 145-164.


How do international observers decide whether to criticize or condone electoral fraud in a country? We argue that this decision depends on the identity of the victims of electoral fraud. A monitoring organization is more likely to overlook fraud commit- ted against groups that are deemed dangerous by its sponsor. Based on this insight, we hypothesize that in the post-Cold War era election monitors are more tolerant of fraud against Islamic challengers, especially when Islamic movements are perceived as a threat to political stability. In support of our hypothesis, we nd that outside moni- tors are more likely to endorse an election in countries with an Islamic opposition party and an ongoing Islamist terrorist campaign. Furthermore, we nd that the eect is driven by Western monitoring organizations and becomes stronger after the September 11 attacks. Our ndings provide a simple yet powerful insight: the calculus of outside observers depends not only on who they wish to see in power, but also who they want to keep from power.

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Publisher statement:This article has been published in a revised form in Internation Organization This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © The IO Foundation 2019.
Date accepted:02 May 2019
Date deposited:07 May 2019
Date of first online publication:11 November 2019
Date first made open access:07 May 2019

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