Subject: Democratic consolidation

January 2019, Volume 30, Issue 1

The Fates Of Third-Wave Democracies

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.

October 2017, Volume 28, Issue 4

Strengthening Constitutionalism in Asia

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.

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July 2017, Volume 28, Issue 3

The Pipe Dream of Undemocratic Liberalism

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.

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January 2017, Volume 28, Issue 1

The Signs of Deconsolidation

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.

October 2014, Volume 25, Issue 4

Growth, Security, and Democracy in Africa

Democracy’s fortunes rose in Africa in the 1990s, but more recently have been in retreat. The forces of democratic resurgence remain in play, however, as a look at the key case of Nigeria suggests.

October 2012, Volume 23, Issue 4

The Ethnocracy Trap

A political system in which power is formally divided among ethnic or sectarian groups may seem like a good idea in conflict-ridden societies, but it bears a high price and makes true democratic transition harder to achieve.

October 2010, Volume 21, Issue 4

African Elections as Vehicles for Change

Since the return of multipartism in sub-Saharan Africa, open-seat elections have been the most likely to yield opposition victories, suggesting that term limits may significantly contribute to democratic consolidation.

July 2010, Volume 21, Issue 3

Ukraine: The Role of Regionalism

Although Ukraine’s regional divisions are often thought to be detrimental to state-building and democratization, they have in fact been a source of strength and helped to prevent tilts to the political extremes.

April 2010, Volume 21, Issue 2

Trouble in Central America: Honduras Unravels

A Central American military once again returned to the political center stage in 2009, but this had less to do with power-hungry generals than with warring civilian elites whose respect for liberal-democratic principles proved to be questionable at best.

April 2010, Volume 21, Issue 2

Mozambique’s Slide into One Party Rule

Once touted as a regional success story, Mozambique has been backsliding toward one-party-dominant rule, and has now slipped off the Freedom House list of electoral democracies. How and why did this happen?

January 2010, Volume 21, Issue 1

Twenty-Five Years, Fifteen Findings

A coauthor of the pathbreaking study Transitions from Authoritarian Rule reflects on the lessons that he has learned about democratic transition and consolidation since the publication of this work nearly 25 years ago.

January 2010, Volume 21, Issue 1

Twenty Years of Postcommunism: In Search of A New Model

In the twenty years since 1989, acute excitement over democratic transition and consolidation gave way to symptoms of “democracy fatigue” and elite exhaustion; successful economic transition away from state socialism fell victim to a crisis of the free-market model; and the EU’s transformative power has reached its geopolitical limits. The nations of Central and Eastern…

January 2010, Volume 21, Issue 1

Twenty Years of Postcommunism: Freedom and the State

This is a central problem—perhaps the central problem—for classical liberal theory and its crucial distinction between the state of nature and the civil state. Which is better for liberty: nature or the state?

July 2009, Volume 20, Issue 3

Bangladesh’s Fresh Start

After a nearly two-year interlude of authoritarian rule, Bangladeshis voted decisively for democracy, a secular approach to politics, and the center-left. The challenge now is to show that parliamentary democracy can deliver stability and socioeconomic progress.

July 2009, Volume 20, Issue 3

The Turnover in El Salvador

In March 2009, El Salvador saw its first peaceful alternation of power since independence, as the FMLN, a former guerilla movement that laid down its arms in 1992, finally won the presidency.

April 2009, Volume 20, Issue 2

The Consequences of Democratization

For the past few decades, scholars have been focusing on the causes of democratization. It is now time to devote systematic attention to analyzing the costs and benefits that democracy brings.

April 2009, Volume 20, Issue 2

Kosovo: Independence and Tutelage

In February 2008, Kosovo broke away from Serbia and declared its independence. But to what extent is it making progress toward its goals of sovereignty and democracy?

January 2008, Volume 19, Issue 1

Taming Extremist Parties: Lessons from Europe

The history of twentieth-century European communist parties shows that extremists can be moderated by robust democratic institutions. Without them, however, the inclusion of extremist parties may undermine democracy.

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January 2008, Volume 19, Issue 1

Turkey Divided

Events surrounding Turkey's 2007 elections reveal a country with a vibrantly democratic political sphere and a society badly split over the role of Islam in national life.

October 2007, Volume 18, Issue 4

Latin America’s Indigenous Peoples

Where indigenous peoples constitute a smaller share of the electorate, their recent inclusion denotes a more generalized opening of the political system to excluded and vulnerable sectors of society.

January 2007, Volume 18, Issue 1

The Perpetual Crises of Democracy

Democracy is and always will be in some kind of crisis, for it is constantly redirecting its citizens’ gaze from a more or less unsatisfactory present toward a future of still unfulfilled possibilities.

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January 2007, Volume 18, Issue 1

How Democracies Emerge: Lessons from Europe

Those who argue that democracy requires preconditions often cite the example of gradual unfolding set by the established democracies. A glance at history, however, shows that even today's most placid democracies have "backstories" as turbulent as anything found in the developing world today.

January 2007, Volume 18, Issue 1

Political Engineering in the Asia-Pacific

The 1997 financial crisis undermined the argument for a putative “Asian-style democracy” that prioritized economic development over political liberalization. Yet recent electoral and other reforms have set the stage for the emergence of a genuine “Asian model” of democracy.

January 2007, Volume 18, Issue 1

The Mexican Standoff: The Mobilization of Distrust

Mexico’s system of electoral governance and dispute settlement worked reasonably well, yet it created too much noise and too many needless invitations to distrust. The failures observed were less those of institutions than of actors. The loser reacted deplorably, but none of those involved acted in a manner beyond reproach.

January 2007, Volume 18, Issue 1

Malaysia: Turnover Without Change

When Abdullah Ahmad Badawi succeeded Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister in 2003, many expected far-reaching change in Malaysia. So far, however, turnover at the top has not led to significant democratic progress.

January 2006, Volume 17, Issue 1

Russia: Authoritarianism Without Authority

Vladimir Putin has pulled the plug on democracy in Russia in an effort to strengthen the authority of the central state. But a look at Russian federal relations shows that the state is growing weaker rather than stronger.

July 2005, Volume 16, Issue 3

Turkey’s AKP: A Model “Muslim-Democratic” Party?

Is the Islamic-oriented party that has ruled since 2002 really the harbinger of 'Muslim democracy,' or is it something more familiar in Turkish politics: a hierarchical group none too closely in touch with society and overly focused on one man?

July 2005, Volume 16, Issue 3

Lula’s Brazil at Midterm

Many saw the election of Workers' Party leader Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva to the Brazilian presidency in October 2002 as the beginning of an era. Two years into his first term, Lula has yet to live up to that expectation.

July 2005, Volume 16, Issue 3

Costa Rica: Paradise in Doubt

Once routinely praised as the "Switzerland of Central America," Costa Rica has in recent years begun to show troubling signs of having a political system that citizens feel is not keeping faith with them.

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April 2005, Volume 16, Issue 2

The Rise of “Muslim Democracy”

The incentives created by competitive elections in a number of Muslim-majority countries are fueling a political trend that roughly resembles the rise of Christian Democracy in twentieth-century Europe

April 2005, Volume 16, Issue 2

Challenge and Change in East Asia: Taiwan’s Year of Stress

Thanks to a disputed presidential election and a narrowly divided parliament, Taiwan's politics remains tense. Yet the worst of the conflicts that gripped the island seem to have eased, and the difficult political events of the last few years may have some beneficial effects after all.