"Well worth reading.... A high-quality comparative political science analysis of democratic consolidation in South Korea."—Mette Skak, Political Studies
Since their transitions, the democracies of the “third wave” have followed a range of trajectories beyond simple survival or breakdown. Many have stagnated at low levels of democracy and some have suffered democratic erosion, but there also have been cases of democratic deepening against the odds.
Liberal democracy can never put down truly firm roots in Asia unless and until the fundamentals of democratic constitutionalism take hold. There are seven practical imperatives that friends of constitutionalism in the region must pursue.
A look at liberal democracy’s complex historical evolution shows that elite fantasies of liberalism without democracy are ill-founded. Authoritarian legacies and democratic deficits lie at the core of trends that threaten liberal rights.
Analogies with interwar Europe are often misdirected. In the 1920s and 1930s, regime breakdowns occurred in struggling new democracies, but established democratic systems exhibited remarkable endurance.
Despite pre-election fears, the victory of the opposition NPP over the ruling NDC in Ghana’s December 2016 elections became the prologue to a peaceful transfer of power. This outcome suggests that the advantage of incumbency in African elections may be on the wane.
Political scientists have long assumed that “democratic consolidation” is a one-way street, but survey evidence of declining support for democracy from across the established democracies suggests that deconsolidation is a genuine danger.
This sparsely populated, landlocked country sandwiched between much larger authoritarian neighbors has nonetheless managed to maintain a fairly robust democracy. The secret lies in its energetic civil society.
What some had thought would be the “end of history” has instead turned out to be the “new world disorder.” Democratic liberalism may have no new ideological rival, but older identities are powerfully reasserting themselves.