is the term that is used either to describe a dictator
who has used the electoral system
to gain power or to describe a democratic
leader who is wielding power like a dictator
This phrase can be attributed to Lord Hailsham who predicted that Britian was moving towards an 'elective dictatorship'.
This is according to a book by Jonathan Freedland in which he does not mention which manuscript (if any) that this quote is from. The book is called Bring Home the Revolution
The first instance is used for leaders such as Hitler who used the electoral system to achieve their aim of becoming a dictator. Hitler intended to become a dictator much before actually being one. However, when he failed in his initial attempt at seizing power after the Munich Beer Hall Putsch he realised he had to use the system to get what he wanted. Though it can be seen that he became dictator by bending the rules it couldn't be argued at the time that he wasn't their leader because he had been elected into his position.
Nowadays the phrase has been coined to describe a democratic leader whose powers are like a dictator's. This is prominent in the UK where the Prime Minister has been cited as an elected dictator (especially during Maggie Thatcher's reign and, more recently, during Tony Blair's time in office). The UK lends itself to an elected dictator because it lacks some of the checks and balances that exist in other political systems.1 One large deficiency is the absence of a codified and entrenched constitution that sets out the various functions and powers of the legislature, executive and judiciary. The USA and France have many checks and balances built into the political system that limits any of the branches of government from gaining too much power (in theory). In the UK on the other hand the Prime Minister can grow to great strengths only held back by laws (which he can change due to parliamentary soveriegnty) and tradition. This is one of the reasons why the British are always worried by the BNP since if they could gain enough popular support they could get an elected dictator into power and no one could stop him/her legally.
1. But this does not mean that an elected dictator
could not come into being in a country with such checks and balances such as the USA
had an entrenched constitution
, checks, balances etc. yet Hitler
still seized power.