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The fading of the anti-coup norm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-156
Number of pages13
Issue number1
PublishedJan 2017

King's Authors


In recent years, some scholars have suggested that coups actually may be beneficial for democratic development. During the Cold War, these scholars point out, coup leaders often consolidated long-running authoritarian regimes, but since the end of the Cold War coups have been much more likely to be followed by fresh elections. This pattern has given rise to talk of “democratic coups,” in which the unconstitutional overthrow of sitting governments acts as a catalyst for radical change and paves the way for democratic transition.1 One proferred explanation for this trend has been that the international community is now much less tolerant of threats to democratic rule, with the rise of international democratic conditionality playing a part in pressuring coup plotters to hold elections.

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