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Legacies of Repression in Egypt and Tunisia: Authoritarianism, Political Mobilization, and Founding Elections, Alanna C. Torres-Van Antwerp

Reviewed by Saerom Han
 

What leads some opposition groups to be more successful than others in mobilizing for founding elections in postauthoritarian contexts? Why do some opposition groups quickly dissolve after winning founding elections and others do not? Alanna C. Torres-Van Antwerp's book Legacies of Repression in Egypt and Tunisia addresses these questions by drawing on the Egyptian experience after the uprising and comparing it with five other case countries: Tunisia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Zambia, and Brazil. In doing so, rather than focus on features that are peculiar to an individual country or region, she seeks to identify “generalizable causal factors” (21) that play out across the selected cases.

Torres-Van Antwerp's main argument is that authoritarian legacies play a key role in shaping opposition groups’ mobilizing strategies, their choice of whether to form political parties, and their postelection trajectories. The political dynamics of regime transitions, according to her book, cannot be fully understood without paying attention to authoritarian political ecologies prior to founding elections and, importantly, to the ways that opposition groups navigate and strategically adapt given state-opposition relationships.

Before delving into empirical analysis, Torres-Van Antwerp theorizes the relationship between authoritarian

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