Melis Laebens

Assistant Professor
Vienna, Quellenstrasse 51

My research centers on democratic backsliding, political parties and electoral behavior, and spans several regions. My book manuscript, entitled Incumbents Against Democracy, analyzes the conditions under which democratically elected incumbents can gradually take over democratic institutions and establish authoritarian control over those without abolishing elections or legislatures. Much of my published work to date focuses on democratic backsliding and party politics in Turkey, but I have also studied other cases, such as Ecuador, Colombia and Poland, in detail.

Currently, I am researching how a challenge against democratic institutions by elected incumbents, and resulting damage to democratic institutions, transform the political landscape.  I study this question in Turkey, where I use survey research to understand electoral behavior and changing political attitudes, and in Poland, where I am carrying out mixed method research to understand the changes in the electoral arena under consecutive United Right governments.


PhD in Political Science, Yale University (2020)
MPhil in Political Science, Yale University (2017)
BA in Political Science and International Relations, Bogazici University (2013)
BA in Economics, Bogazici University (2013)

File Attachments