A coup d'état typically uses the extant government's power to assume political control of the country. In Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook, military historian Edward Luttwak states that "[a] coup consists of the infiltration of a small, but critical, segment of the state apparatus, which is then used to displace the government from its control of the remainder." The armed forces, whether military or paramilitary, can be a defining factor of a coup d'état. Lately a view that all coups are a danger to democracy and stability has been challenged by the notion of a "democratic coup d'état", which "respond to a popular uprising against an authoritarian or totalitarian regime and topple that regime for the limited purpose of holding the free and fair elections of civilian leaders.
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