The article attempts to identify common explanatory factors and internal causal mechanisms behind the poor democratic performance of post-communist semi-presidential regimes. It attributes poor democratic performance to constitutionally powerful presidents supported by single-party-majority cabinets. Under this situation, omnipotent presidents enact media-related law unhindered, tightly regulate the media, prevent the opposition from disseminating election information, and thus increase the ruling party’s probability of winning elections. Through quantitative analysis and comparative case studies of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, this paper verifies the convergent pathway from powerful presidents’ media control to poor democratic performance. In conclusion, powerful post-communist presidents endanger democracy via media control.

This content is only available via PDF.