Edited By Florian Bieber, Magdalena Solska and Dane Taleski
14. Splitting the Apex: Liberal Democracy and Georgian Political Elites (Giga Zedania)
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14. Splitting the Apex: Liberal Democracy and Georgian Political Elites
The goal of this chapter is to depict the common characteristics of four successive regimes in Georgia that constitute the major factors hindering establishment of democracy in the country. First, charismatic leadership as a precondition of one-party dominance in the political system. Accordingly, a political party is an informal network of friends and allies centred on a charismatic leader. Second, polarization is expressed in the fact that each change of power is linked with the persecution of the previous power holders, which makes the normalization of the election process extremely difficult. Third, there is a paranoid style framing political debates around conspiracy theories. Finally, there is a culture of informality, whereby the focus on charismatic leaders makes the existence of formalized channels of communication and decision making a secondary process.
Keywords: double hybridity, charismatic leadership, one-party system, polarization
The Apex of the Political System
Democracy, according to an elegant definition of Niklas Luhmann, is the “splitting of the apex of the differentiated political system through the distinction of the government and opposition” (Luhmann, 1987: 126). This distinction is, according to Luhmann, a temporal one – it is about a fundamental possibility that “the ruling and opposition parties at the next elections change their places”. This abstract system theoretical definition of the concept of democracy finds its confirmation through empirical democracy research: Samuel Huntington offered a...
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