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Illiberal and authoritarian tendencies in Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe

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Edited By Florian Bieber, Magdalena Solska and Dane Taleski

Even though the democratic decline has been deemed a global phenomenon, the question of how it manifests itself in the postcommunist world and how it varies across different regions with divergent levels of democratic consolidation has not been sufficiently addressed yet. This book tries to fill the gap and examines the causes and nature of the deteriorating quality of democracy in Central Europe as well as the reversal or stagnation of democratization processes in Southeastern and Eastern Europe. The political elite plays a key role in initiating legislative changes that may lead to democratic backsliding. Its constant commitment to the rule of law and to the practice of selfrestraint in securing the independence of judiciary and the rights of political opposition appears hence indispensable for sustainable liberal democracy.
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2. Democracy, Dictatorship and Hybrid Regimes: Concepts and Approaches (András Bozóki / Dániel Hegedűs)

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András Bozóki and Dániel Hegedűs

2.  Democracy, Dictatorship and Hybrid Regimes: Concepts and Approaches

In this chapter we focus on the ever widening grey zone between democracy and dictatorship. We argue that the issue of democracy and dictatorship is not an “either-or” problem; rather it is one that can be best described along a continuum. At the two opposing ends of the scale stand liberal democracies and totalitarian regimes. Furthermore, when categorizing political systems, we cannot overlook their external environment, foreign relations, and the extent to which these outside forces influence the political system itself. For example, just as it is more difficult for an authoritarian regime to democratize if it is surrounded by other authoritarian regimes, it is also more difficult for a democracy to regress to dictatorship if that democracy is a member of an alliance of democratic states. In short, the emergence, existence, and decline of a regime need to be analysed in light of both domestic and international factors. In the following we discuss a variety of political systems. Most importantly, we argue that hybrid regimes should be differentiated from democracies as well as full authoritarian regimes. Hybrid regimes need to be treated as a separate category to maintain conceptual clarity in the classification of political regimes. But to make sense of the meaning of hybrid regimes, first we need to offer definitions on democracies and dictatorships.

Keywords: authoritarianism, democracy, dictatorship, hybrid...

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