Harvard International Law Journal: The Democratic Coup d’Etat

Harvard International Law Journal: The Democratic Coup d’Etat
[Thanks to Tom for pointing this out. Thailand is not mentioned, but there are interesting case studies including the Egyptian coup of 2011.]

…To date, the academic legal literature has analyzed all military coups under an anti-democratic framework. That conventional framework considers military coups to be entirely anti-democratic and assumes that all coups are perpetrated by power-hungry military officers seeking to depose existing regimes in order to rule their nations indefinitely. Under the prevailing view, therefore, all military coups constitute an affront to stability, legitimacy, and democracy. This Article, which draws on fieldwork that I conducted in Egypt and Turkey in 2011, challenges that conventional view and its underlying assumptions. The Article argues that, although all military coups have anti-democratic features, some coups are distinctly more democracy-promoting than others because they respond to popular opposition against authoritarian or totalitarian regimes, overthrow those regimes, and facilitate free and fair elections.
…A democratic military coup typically features the following seven attributes: (1) the coup is staged against an authoritarian or totalitarian regime; (2) the military responds to persistent popular opposition against that regime; (3) the authoritarian or totalitarian regime refuses to step down in response to the popular uprising; (4) the coup is staged by a military that is highly respected within the nation, ordinarily because of mandatory conscription; (5) the military stages the coup to overthrow the authoritarian or totalitarian regime; (6) the military facilitates free and fair elections within a short span of time; and (7) the coup ends with a transfer of power to democratically elected leaders…

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