Mapping the Incumbency Disadvantage in Electoral Authoritarian Regimes:
The Case of Iranian Parliamentary Elections
This study offers a novel investigation of why incumbents from the proestablishment coalition in an authoritarian regime do not have an electoral edge over challengers. Although proestablishment incumbents in nondemocratic regimes, as in democracies, enjoy advantages in the form of distribution of patronage, pork barrel, and privileged access to media, in a competitive election in such regimes there is no guarantee of their reelection. While one might expect the incumbent reelection rate in a nondemocratic regime such as Iran to be high, based on the results of Iranian parliamentary elections, the incumbent reelection rate is relatively low (33%).