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Cavalry in the streets of Paris during the French coup of 1851, where the democratically elected President Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte seized dictatorial power, and one year later was crowned Emperor of the French

A self-coup, also called autocoup (from the Spanish autogolpe), is a form of coup d'état in which a nation's leader, having come to power through legal means, dissolves or renders powerless the national legislature and unlawfully assumes extraordinary powers not granted under normal circumstances. Other measures taken may include annulling the nation's constitution, suspending civil courts, and having the head of government assume dictatorial powers.[1][2]

Between 1946 and 2020, an estimated 148 self-coup attempts have taken place: 110 in autocracies and 38 in democracies.[3]

Notable events described as self-coups

Notable events described as attempted self-coups

See also


  1. ^ a b An early reference to the term autogolpe may be found in Kaufman, Edy: Uruguay in Transition: From Civilian to Military Rule, Transaction, New Brunswick, 1979. It includes a definition of autogolpe and mentions that the word was "popularly" used in reference to events in Uruguay in 1972–1973. See Uruguay in Transition: From Civilian to Military Rule – Edy Kaufman at Google Books.
  2. ^ Tufekci, Zeynep (December 7, 2020). "'This Must Be Your First'". The Atlantic. In political science, the term coup refers to the illegitimate overthrow of a sitting government—usually through violence or the threat of violence. The technical term for attempting to stay in power illegitimately—such as after losing an election—is self-coup or autocoup, sometimes autogolpe
  3. ^ Nakamura, David (January 5, 2021). "With brazen assault on election, Trump prompts critics to warn of a coup". Washington Post. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  4. ^ "URUGUAY UNDER A DICTATOR.; Senor Cuestas Executes a Coup d'Etat and Dissolves the Assembly. (Published 1898)". February 11, 1898 – via
  5. ^ "Germany 1933: from democracy to dictatorship". Anne Frank Website. September 28, 2018.
  6. ^ "The March Revolution in Uruguay 1933".
  7. ^ Bizzarro, Salvatore (April 20, 2005). Historical Dictionary of Chile. Scarecrow Press. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-8108-6542-6.
  8. ^ "Biography of Alfredo Baldomir (1884-1948)".
  9. ^ "The Bolivian Revolution".
  10. ^ a b "Counting Thailand's coups". March 8, 2011.
  11. ^ "Declaration of Martial Law". Official Gazette. Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  12. ^ Kenney, Charles D. (2004). Fujimori's coup and the breakdown of democracy in Latin America. University of Notre Dame Press. ISBN 0-268-03171-1.
  13. ^ "Venezuela Muzzles Legislature, Moving Closer to One-Man Rule". The New York Times. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  14. ^ "Venezuela's high court dissolves National Assembly". CNN. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  15. ^ Barry S. Levitt (2006), "A Desultory Defense of Democracy: OAS Resolution 1080 and the Inter-American Democratic Charter, Latin American Politics and Society, Volume 48, Issue 3, September 2006, Pages: 93–123. pp104-5
  16. ^ Ingraham, Christopher (January 22, 2021). "Coup attempts usually usher in long stretches of democratic decline, data shows". Washington Post.
  17. ^ Reuters Staff (February 25, 2020). "Mahathir proposes to lead 'unity government' - sources". Malaysiakini.
  18. ^ Call, Charles (January 8, 2021). "No, it's not a coup — It's a failed 'self-coup' that will undermine US leadership and democracy worldwide". Brookings Institution.
  19. ^ Hill, Fiona (January 11, 2021). "Yes, It Was a Coup. Here's Why". Politico. Retrieved January 11, 2021. Technically, what Trump attempted is what’s known as a “self-coup” and Trump isn’t the first leader to try it. Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (nephew of the first Napoleon) pulled one off in France December 1851 to stay in power beyond his term. Then he declared himself Emperor, Napoleon III. More recently, Nicolas Maduro perpetrated a self-coup in Venezuela after losing the 2017 elections.