Today many governments that seek to perpetuate their power operate hybrid regimes, manipulating institutions yet holding regular elections. In this way, governments gain some legitimacy for their extended incumbency through the residual competitiveness that this regime type allows. However, recent studies show that voters may sometimes grow so activated that they make new use of this competitiveness, however limited, and turn elections into the means by which they can finally change the regime and the government that operates it. This article examines this thesis in Southeast Asia, a region in which hybrid politics have long been practiced. Its main finding is that while change has sometimes taken place, voters-participating only as voters-have never been central.
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