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After RepressionHow Polarization Derails Democratic Transition$
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Elizabeth R. Nugent

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691203058

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691203058.001.0001

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Polarization during Democratic Transitions

Polarization during Democratic Transitions

(p.207) 8 Polarization during Democratic Transitions
After Repression

Elizabeth R. Nugent

Princeton University Press

This chapter reviews the literature on polarization during democratic transitions to highlight how polarization prevents the compromise and cooperation that is vital to successful transitions. It then discusses the timeline of events between 2011 and 2014 in Egypt and Tunisia to chart how these transitions progressed, and documents where affective and preference polarization contributed to the divergence. The chapter focuses on the debates and decisions related to drafting and approving a new constitution, holding the first elections, and creating a transitional justice initiative. High levels of polarization derailed Egypt's transition, while significantly more agreement in Tunisia facilitated cooperation and compromise in parallel processes. However, as with any social phenomenon, the divergence in these transitions is likely due to multiple causes. While affective and preference polarization among elite actors clearly played a major role in this divergence, the chapter also highlights other factors, such as structural predecessors, continued protests, the emergence of new political actors, and ongoing events in other countries, that were important for political developments.

Keywords:   polarization, democratic transitions, Egypt, Tunisia, affective polarization, preference polarization, elite actors

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