There is a burgeoning literature on how to deal with populism in advanced liberal democracies, which puts a strong emphasis on legalist and pluralist methods. There is also a new and expanding literature that looks at the consequences of coups d’état for democracies by employing large-N data sets. These two recent literatures, however, do not speak to one another, based on the underlying assumption that coups against populists were a distinctly twentieth-century Latin American phenomenon. Yet the cases of Venezuela in 2002, Thailand in 2006 and Turkey in 2016 show that anti-populist coups have also occurred in the twenty-first century. Focussing on these cases, the article enquires about the extent to which military coups succeed against populists. The main finding is that although anti-populist coups may initially take over the government, populism survives in the long run. Thus, anti-populist coups fail in their own terms and they do not succeed in eradicating populism. In fact, in the aftermath of a coup, populism gains further legitimacy against what it calls repressive elites, while possibilities for democratisation are further eroded. This is because populists tap into existing socio-cultural divides and politically mobilise the hitherto underrepresented sectors in their societies that endure military interventions.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in Third World Quarterly. Toygar Sinan Baykan, Yaprak Gürsoy & Pierre Ostiguy (2021) Anti-populist coups d’état in the twenty-first century: reasons, dynamics and consequences, Third World Quarterly. It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
- civil–military relations