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Illiberal and authoritarian tendencies in Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe


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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Western Balkans: Regional Overview (Florian Bieber)


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Florian Bieber

Western Balkans: Regional Overview

The countries of the Western Balkans, in particular the five countries under discussion in this volume, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Serbia and Macedonia, have experienced a challenging democratization process since the introduction of multi-party elections in 1990s. The dominant feature has been the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the subsequent wars, which stymied democracy and fostered ethnonationalist authoritarianism. The legacies of the wars remain potent today and also resulted in a delay in EU integration in comparison to the countries’ eastern and northern neighbours. This has resulted in the Western Balkans becoming a group of countries characterized by the absence of EU membership, unlike Central Europe, but with a realistic and tangible promise of membership, unlike the countries of the EU’s eastern neighbourhood.

Since the introduction of multi-party democracy in the early 1990s, most of the Western Balkans have experienced a variety of hybrid regimes. While no country in the region has been governed by an outright authoritarian regime, none has managed to consolidate democracy. While there is no single all-encompassing trend for all countries under consideration here, there are a number of trends. The 1990s were marked by strong authoritarian patterns, reinforced by the wars, in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. The first decade of the 2000s began with a gradual democratization that saw a regular alternation of power, ruling parties that endorsed political and economic reform, as well as EU integration. By the...

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