Across East-Central Europe, the political center ground has long been characterized by the uneasy cohabitation of liberal and illiberal norms, but the latter have been gradually overpowering the former.
Is democracy in East-Central Europe suffering because of a lack of liberal zeal among elites, as Dawson and Hanley contend, or is it because
liberal policies have failed to deliver on their promises?
China’s government looks to Singapore, the only country in the region to modernize without liberalizing, in hopes of finding the key to combining authoritarian rule with economic progress and “good governance.”
Although the leading authoritarian regimes are today integrated in many ways into the global system, they have not become more like the democracies; instead, they have been devising policies and practices aimed at blocking democracy’s advance.
While “autocracy promotion” presents a real danger, its influence so far has been limited. Because authoritarian regimes are concerned first with furthering their own interests, their interventions often have contradictory effects, sometimes even inadvertently fostering greater pluralism.
Are the “virtuous circles” crucial to good governance always the product of long-term developments under unique historical circumstances, or can they be started or accelerated by wise policies?
Much can be done to uproot graft when a major event such as the Rose Revolution sweeps in a determined new team on a wave of massive public support.
Bold leadership from people in key posts can effectively promote public integrity, but they must be ready to accept tenures that are stormy and short.
A change in the shape of partisan competition, and the traditional parties’ ability to adapt to it, has led to the decline of once-pervasive clientelism.
- Excerpts of remarks given by Iranian historian Ladan Boroumand in Soeul on November 1 at the opening of the Eighth Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy.
- Excerpts from the December 7 speech given by Venezuelan opposition leader Jesús Torrealba, whose Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) had won a surprising landslide victory in the previous day's legislative elections.
- Portions of remarks given by Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza on September 10 as he accepted on behalf of slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov a posthumous freedom award given by the International Republican Institute.