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Chapter

Cover Democratization

21. Post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe  

Christian W. Haerpfer and Kseniya Kizilova

This chapter examines the democratic revolutions that occurred in post-communist Europe since 1989. It first considers the beginning of the decline of communism and the failed attempts to reform communist one-party states from 1970 to 1988 as stage one of democratization. It then discusses the end of communist regimes as the second stage of democratization—between 1989 and 1991. It also looks at stage three of the democratization process, which focuses on the creation of new democracies. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the main drivers of successful democratization in post-communist Europe.

Chapter

Cover Democratization

22. Post-Soviet Eurasia  

Christian W. Haerpfer and Kseniya Kizilova

This chapter examines the democratic revolutions that occurred in post-Soviet Eurasia since 1989. It first considers the beginning of the decline of communism and the failed attempts to reform communist one-party states from 1970 to 1988 as stage one of democratization. It then discusses the end of communist regimes as the second stage of democratization—between 1989 and 1991. It also looks at stage three of the democratization process, which focuses on the creation of new democracies. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the main drivers of successful democratization in post-Soviet Eurasia.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

9. Political Culture and Non-Western Political Ideas  

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter begins by outlining the importance of poltical culture in structuring, but not determining, the behaviour of actors within individual political systems. It illustrates the persistence of its impact with the failure of Mao Zedong to eliminate traditional Chinese ways of thinking and create a wholly new political culture in the Cultural Revolution. On the other hand it cites fluctuations in Russian political culture over centuries to show that the perceived content of a particular political culture can be fundamentally contested and malleable, so that it does evolve. And it notes the recent claims of political leaders in Russia, China and India, amongst others, that their nations’ historical achievements raise them to the status of ‘civilization states’. One feature of a nation’s political culture is the recurring trends of issues and preoccupations in political thinking there. Then it goes on to examine issues in thinking in non-Western countries, that structure political attitudes and political behaviour differently from the West. It begins by looking at traditional notions of legitimate political authority in other regions of the world, particularly Asia, that preceded the arrival of Western colonialists. These often assumed more ‘organic’ and more segmented communities than would be associated with Western individualist ones influenced by the legacy of the French revolution. Then it considers more recent non-Western political thinking.

Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

10. Elections and Referendums  

Michael Gallagher

This chapter focuses on the two main opportunities that people have to vote in most societies: elections and referendums. Elections are held to fill seats in parliaments or to choose a president, whereas referendums allow citizens to decide directly on some issue of policy. Elections are the cornerstone of representative democracy, and referendums are sometimes regarded as the equivalent of ‘direct democracy’. In practice, referendums are used only as an option in systems of representative democracy. The chapter first provides an overview of elections and electoral systems, focusing on electoral regulations and the main categories of electoral systems, namely single-member plurality, alternative vote, two-round system, and proportional representation. It then examines the rules under which elections are held, as well as the consequences of this variation. It also considers the use of the referendum and its potential impact on politics.

Chapter

Cover Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes

4. Dysfunctional Democracies and Hybrid Systems  

This chapter evaluates those ambiguous systems that mix democratic characteristics with authoritarian tendencies. Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a substantial rise in the number of these hybrid regimes. In fact, hybrid regimes have proliferated to such an extent that scholars contend they are now ‘the modal type of political regime in the developing world’. The chapter then maps the terrain between democracy and dictatorship. The goal is to highlight the wide variety of political systems today and underscore the rather astonishing frequency with which contemporary authoritarian regimes possess seemingly democratic features. The chapter identifies the different types of hybrid systems that occupy this middle ground—focusing on electoral democracy, competitive authoritarianism, and hegemonic authoritarianism—and defines their key characteristics. It also examines why hybrid systems have become more common in the post-Cold War era.

Chapter

Cover Democratization

14. Political Parties  

Leonardo Morlino

This chapter examines the role of political parties in the processes of democratization, that is, during transition, installation, and consolidation, and the possible phases of democratic crisis. It first considers the definition of a political party within the processes of democratization before discussing how parties can be indispensable for the actual working of democracy. It then explores the actual role of political parties during transitions to democracy and during democratic consolidation, and in different types of crises. It also describes basic patterns of transition to democracy as well as key elements of democratic consolidation, including electoral stabilization and emergence of recurring patterns of party competition. The chapter shows that parties are dominant in the process of transition, even if not always hegemonic.

Chapter

Cover Democratization

15. Institutional Design in New Democracies  

Matthijs Bogaards

This chapter focuses on electoral systems and institutional design in new democracies. It first compares Maurice Duverger’s electoral laws with those of Giovanni Sartori before discussing the main insights from the literature on electoral systems in established democracies as well as evidence from new democracies. It then considers the impact of the electoral law on the type of party system and its role as intermediary between society and government in plural societies. It also examines the party system as an independent variable, along with dependent variables such as the number of political parties, social cleavages, and presidentialism. Finally, it discusses consociational democracy and how electoral system design can be used in managing ethnic conflicts.

Chapter

Cover Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes

11. Institutional Drivers of Democracy  

This chapter describes how the institutional design of new democracies affect their political evolution. By institutions, it refers to formal political institutions, including political parties, electoral systems, and state design (namely federal versus unitary states). In addition to the decision to create a federal versus a unitary state, some scholars and policymakers have advocated for a consociational approach to democracy in countries that feature significant ethnic, religious or other cleavages. Consociational democracy is essentially a democracy that allows for significant power sharing—or the ability to access positions of power—among the country's various factions. Ultimately, institutions can play a particularly critical role in the consolidation and sustainment of democracy because they structure and constrain political behaviour. The chapter then considers the relationship between institutions and democratization.

Chapter

Cover Politics in the Developing World

23. Mexico  

Transition to Civil War Democracy

Andreas Schedler

This chapter examines Mexico’s gradual and largely peaceful transition to democracy, followed by a sudden descent into civil war. In the closing decades of the twentieth century, Mexico’s major challenge was political democratization. Today, it is organized criminal violence. Vicente Fox’s victory in the presidential elections of 2000 ended more than seventy years of hegemonic party rule. However, a civil war soon broke out, sparking a pandemic escalation of violence related to organized crime. The chapter first traces the history of Mexico from its independence in 1821 to the Mexican Revolution of 1910–1920 before discussing the foundations of electoral authoritarianism in the country. It then considers the structural bases of regime change in Mexico, along with the process of democratization by elections. It concludes by analysing why a civil war broke out in Mexico following its transition to democracy.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

11. Votes, Elections, Legislatures, and Legislators  

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter examines some of the central issues associated with voting and electoral systems, along with the functions of legislatures. It begins by discussing the two paradoxes of voting. First, the huge number of citizens in any modern state means that no individual’s vote is likely to make the difference between two or more choices, making it potentially ‘irrational’ for any individual to bother to vote at all. Yet votes make democracy possible. The second voting paradox concerns the difficulty of relying upon votes to determine the objective preferences of the public. The chapter proceeds by considering measures that aim to establish quotas to increase gender equality in legislative recruitment. It also describes different types of legislatures and the internal structure of legislatures. Finally, it analyses trends in the backgrounds of legislators in various countries, specifically focusing upon the criticism that they constitute a ‘political class’.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

11. Votes, Elections, Legislatures, and Legislators  

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter examines some of the central issues associated with voting and electoral systems, along with the functions of legislatures. It begins by discussing the two paradoxes of voting. First, the huge number of citizens in any modern state means that no individual’s vote is likely to make the difference between two or more choices, making it potentially ‘irrational’ for any individual to bother to vote at all. Yet votes make democracy possible. The second voting paradox concerns the difficulty of relying upon votes to determine the objective preferences of the public. The chapter proceeds by considering measures that aim to establish quotas to increase gender equality in legislative recruitment. It also describes different types of legislatures and the internal structure of legislatures. Finally, it analyses trends in the backgrounds of legislators in various countries, specifically focusing upon the criticism that they constitute a ‘political class’.

Chapter

Cover Foundations of European Politics

6. Electoral Systems and Direct Democracy  

This chapter starts off with an overview of the institutions that decide how citizens cast ballots, firstly, in elections, and secondly, directly for policy. The former is related to electoral systems and the latter to direct democracy. The chapter considers the implications of these institutions for party systems and political representation from the view point of the principal–agent framework. There is a large variety of electoral systems used in Europe. Most elections are held using the system of proportional representation. However, there are important institutional differences that need to be remembered. The chapter then goes on to examine the effects of electoral systems on the party system. This is carried out with electoral change over time in mind. Finally, the chapter turns to direct democracy and analyses the use of referendums, specifically with regard to the question of the European Union (EU).

Chapter

Cover Democratization

13. Conventional Citizen Participation  

Ian McAllister and Stephen White

This chapter examines the most visible and politically important act of conventional citizen participation: turning out to vote in a national election. Patterns of political participation are influenced by a variety of institutional factors, such as the type of electoral system and the number of political parties in a country, along with individual socioeconomic factors such as a person’s educational attainments or income. A particular problem in many previously authoritarian societies is the absence of a diverse civil society, so that the social trust upon which a healthy democracy depends is often absent. The chapter first considers various dimensions of political participation before discussing voter turnout in democratic countries. It then analyses the effects of institutional arrangements such as election rules, the type of electoral system, and the party system on political participation. Finally, it describes some of the factors that determine whether or not citizens participate in politics.