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Executive succession in personalistic regimes

Theriault, Martin
When a dictator dies, who steps in as a replacement? While considerable research has examined the dynamics of regime change, little work has focused on the dynamics of leadership transitions in nondemocratic regimes. This project combines institutional and consent based approaches to sources of authority in nondemocratic regimes, arguing that likely leadership successors will have network connections to key sources of nondemocratic power. Using the transition in Spain following Francisco Franco's death, I have developed two hypothesis concerning executive succession in personalistic regimes focusing on the depth versus the breadth of these network connections and then test them using a case study of leadership succession within Uzbekistan, a sultanistic regime in Central Asia. This research uses newspaper articles and other sources to identify potential successors, and then I use these sources to build comparative biographies looking specifically for connections to sources of power and the institutions that support them. The findings indicate support for the hypothesis that the breadth of ties is more important than their depth.