Beyond the Struggle for Democratic Transition: 

The Rise and Fall of Opposition Successor Parties

Prior authoritarian elites, their political parties, and family members have been surprisingly successful in democratic elections. South Korea’s Park Geun-hye in 2012, the Philippines’ Bongbong Marcos in 2022, and Indonesia's Prabowo Subianto in 2024 are just a few examples. My dissertation focuses on such countries where former autocratic elites or their parties inherit clientelistic networks, significant party-financing resources, strong party brands or positive personalistic legacies, providing them with comparative advantages in electoral competition that can persist after an autocratic regime's collapse. In such contexts where prior authoritarian elites or their parties have a strong appeal to some groups of voters under democracy, I study the determinants and consequences of the political survival and electoral performance of opposition successor parties (OSPs): which I define as political parties that emerge from leading pro-democracy figures, movements, parties, or groups that publicly opposed the previous authoritarian regime. Using an original micro-level dataset, I explore how different forms of autocratic state repression can have heterogenous effects on pro-democracy opposition parties’ abilities to maximize their vote shares in subsequent elections. I also examine to what extent their prior experiences of participation in semi-competitive elections and the nature of democratic transitions can shape the party’s likelihood of survival and electoral success.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Cheong, Yeilim and Stephan Haggard. 2023. "Political Polarization in Korea." Democratization 30 (7): 1215-1239. 

Cheong, Yeilim and Stephan Haggard. 2024. "Violence and Democracy." Political Science Quarterly 00 (0): 1-17

Working Papers

"When Autocratic State Repression Backfires: The Role of Alternative Information and Legitimation."

"Exit, Voice, or Loyalty? Economic Opportunity, Escape Viability, and Political Dissent in North Korea." Under Review.

Work in Progress

"The Inclusiveness of Democratic Transition Processes, Experiences of Electoral Competition, and the Survival of Opposition Successor Parties"

"Valence Scrutiny Gone Wrong? Party Activism and Party Candidate Selection in Polarized Environments."

Other Writings

Cheong, Yeilim and Stephan Haggard. Feb. 10, 2022. "Polarization in Korea Part I: The Public vs. Partisans." Korea Economic Institute (KEI).

Cheong, Yeilim and Stephan Haggard. Mar. 3, 2022. "Polarization in Korea Part II: Divided Over What?" Korea Economic Institute (KEI).

Cheong, Yeilim and Stephan Haggard. Jan. 3, 2023. "2022 in Review: Is Korea Becoming More Polarized?" Korea Economic Institute (KEI).