Democratic backsliding

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Democratic backsliding, also known as autocratization[1][2] and de-democratization,[3] is a gradual decline in the quality of democracy[4] and the opposite of democratization, which may result in the state losing its democratic qualities, becoming an autocracy or authoritarian regime.[1] Democratic decline is caused by the state-led weakening of political institutions that sustain the democratic system, such as the peaceful transition of power or electoral systems. Although these political elements are assumed to lead to the onset of backsliding, other essential components of democracy such as infringement of individual rights and the freedom of expression question the health, efficiency and sustainability of democratic systems over time.[5][6]

Political scientist Nancy Bermeo argues that blatant forms of democratic backsliding, such as classic, open-ended coups d'état and election-day fraud, have declined since the end of the Cold War, while more subtle and "vexing" forms of backsliding have increased. The latter forms of backsliding entail the debilitation of democratic institutions from within. These subtle forms are especially effective when they are legitimized through the very institutions that people expect to protect democratic values.[7]

The Third Wave of democratization,[8] which began in the mid-1970s, transformed the existing formal political structures in much of the developing world. Nevertheless, the processes of democratisation are not linear, as only a limited number of countries that have undergone transitions to democracy have succeeded in establishing consolidated and functioning democratic regimes.[6] Since 2001, there are more autocracies than democracies in the world and as a result, the “third wave of autocratization” is accelerating and deepening.[9] In addition, apart from the transition to autocratization, democratic backsliding may also lead to authoritarian regressions, to revolutions, to hybrid regimes as they enter into political "gray zones".[10][11]

Pandemic backsliding[12] is a specific type of democratic backsliding relating to national crises. It occurs when leaders impose authoritarian rules during states of national emergency that are either disproportionate to the severity of the crisis or remain in place after the situation has improved. It has taken place in several countries during the coronavirus pandemic.[citation needed]


Democratic backsliding occurs when essential components of democracy are threatened. Examples of democratic backsliding include:[13][14]


Democratic backsliding can occur in several common ways. Backsliding is often led by democratically elected leaders, who use "incremental rather than revolutionary" tactics."[17] As emphasized by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, it is difficult to pinpoint a single specific moment at which a government is no longer democratic, given that this process of decline manifests "slowly, in barely visible steps".[18] Ozan Varol uses the phrase stealth authoritarianism to describe the practice of an authoritarian leader (or a potential authoritarian leader) using "seemingly legitimate legal mechanisms for anti-democratic ends ... concealing anti-democratic practices under the mask of law."[19]Together with Juan Linz (1996),[20] Levitsky and Ziblatt developed and agreed upon their “litmus test”, which includes what they believe to be the four key indicators of authoritarian behavior. These four factors are: rejection (or weak commitment to) democratic rules of the game, denial of the legitimacy of political opponents, toleration or encouragement of violence, and readiness to curtail civil liberties of opponents, including media. Varol describes the manipulation of libel laws, electoral laws, or "terrorism" laws as tools to target or discredit political opponents, and the employment of democratic rhetoric as a distraction from anti-democratic practices, as manifestations of stealth authoritarianism.[19] In addition to these key signs derived from the behavior of leaders, Samuel P. Huntington also describes culture as a main contributor to democratic backsliding, and goes on to argue that certain cultures are particularly hostile to democracy, but they don’t necessarily prohibit democratization.[21]

Promissory coups[edit]

In a promissory coup, an incumbent elected government is deposed in a coup d'etat by coup leaders who claim to defend democracy and promise to hold elections to restore democracy. In these situations, coup-makers emphasize the temporary and necessary nature of their intervention in order to ensure democracy in the future.[7] This is unlike the more open-ended coups that occurred during the Cold War. Political scientist Nancy Bermeo says that "The share of successful coups that falls into the promissory category has risen significantly, from 35 percent before 1990 to 85 percent afterward."[7] Examining 12 promissory coups in democratic states between 1990 and 2012, Bermeo found that "Few promissory coups were followed quickly by competitive elections, and fewer still paved the way for improved democracies."[7]

Executive aggrandizement[edit]

This process contains a series of institutional changes by the elected executives, impairing the ability of the political opposition to challenge the government and hold it to account. The most important feature of executive aggrandizement is that the institutional changes are made through legal channels, making it seem as if the elected official has a democratic mandate.[7][18] Some examples of executive aggrandizement are the decline of media freedom and the weakening of the rule of law (i.e., judicial and bureaucratic restraints on the government), such as when judicial autonomy is threatened.[7]

Over time, there has been a decline in active coups (in which a power-seeking individual, or small group, seizes power through forcibly, violently removing an existing government) and self-coups (involving "a freely elected chief executive suspending the constitution outright in order to amass power in one swift sweep") and an increase in executive aggrandizement.[7] Political scientist Nancy Bermeo notes that executive aggrandizement occurs over time, through institutional changes legitimized through legal means, such as new constituent assemblies, referenda, or "existing courts or legislatures ... in cases where supporters of the executive gain majority control of such bodies."[7] Bermeo notes that these means mean that the aggrandizement of the executive "can be framed as having resulted from a democratic mandate."[7] Executive aggrandizement is characterized by the presence of distress in axes of democracy, including institutional or horizontal accountability;[22] and executive or discursive accountability.[23]

Strategic harassment and manipulation during elections[edit]

This form of democratic backsliding entails the impairment of free and fair elections through tactics such as blocking media access, disqualifying opposition leaders, or harassing opponents. This form of backsliding is done in such a way that the elections do not appear to be rigged and rarely involves any apparent violations of the law, making it difficult for international election monitoring organizations to observe or criticize these misconducts.[7]

Causes and characteristics of democratic backsliding[edit]


Pippa Norris of the Harvard Kennedy School and the University of Sydney argues that the two "twin forces" pose the largest threat to Western liberal democracies: "sporadic and random terrorist attacks on domestic soil, which damage feelings of security, and the rise of populist-authoritarian forces, which feed parasitically upon these fears."[24] Norris defines populism as "a governing style with three defining features":

  1. A rhetorical emphasis on the idea that "legitimate political authority is based on popular sovereignty and majority rule";
  2. Disapproval of, and challenges to the legitimacy of, established holders of "political, cultural, and economic power";
  3. Leadership by "maverick outsiders" who claim "to speak for the vox populi and to serve ordinary people."[24]

Some, but not all, populists are also authoritarian, emphasizing "the importance of protecting traditional lifestyles against perceived threats from 'outsiders', even at the expense of civil liberties and minority rights."[24] According to Norris, the reinforcement of the insecurities from the "twin forces" has led to more support for populist-authoritarian leaders, and this latter risk is especially pronounced in the United States during the presidency of Donald Trump. For example, Norris argues that Trump has benefited from the mistrust of "the establishment" and that he continuously seeks to undermine faith in the legitimacy of the media and the independence of the courts.[24]

In 2017, Cas Mudde and Cristóbal Rovire Kaltwasser wrote that:

Populism does not have the same effect in each stage of the democratization process. In fact, we suggest that populism tends to play a positive role in the promotion of electoral or minimal democracy, but a negative role when it comes to fostering the development of a full-fledged liberal democratic regime. Consequently, while populism tends to favor the democratization of authoritarian regimes, it is prone to diminish the quality of liberal democracies. Populism supports popular sovereignty, but it is inclined to oppose any limitations on majority rule, such as judicial independence and minority rights. Populism-in-power has led to processes of de-democratization (e.g., [Viktor] Orbán in Hungary or [Hugo] Chávez in Venezuela) and, in some extreme cases, even to the breakdown of the democratic regime (e.g., [Alberto] Fujimori in Peru).[25]

A 2018 analysis by political scientists Yascha Mounk and Jordan Kyle links populism to democratic backsliding, showing that since 1990, "13 right-wing populist governments have been elected; of these, five brought about significant democratic backsliding. Over the same time period, 15 left-wing populist governments were elected; of these, the same number, five, brought about significant democratic backsliding."[26]

A December 2018 report by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change concluded that populist rule, whether left- or right-wing, leads to a significant risk of democratic backsliding. The authors examine the effect of populism on three major aspects of democracy: the quality of democracy in general, checks and balances on executive power and citizens' right to politically participate in a meaningful way. They conclude that populist governments are four times more likely to cause harm to democratic institutions than non-populist governments. Also, more than half of populist leaders have amended or rewritten the countries' constitution, frequently in a way that eroded checks and balances on executive power. Lastly, populists attack individual rights such as freedom of the press, civil liberties, and political rights.[17]

In a 2018 journal article on democratic backsliding, scholars Licia Cianetti, James Dawson, and Seán Hanley argued that the emergence of populist movements in Central and Eastern Europe, such as Andrej Babiš's ANO in the Czech Republic, are "a potentially ambiguous phenomenon, articulating genuine societal demands for political reform and pushing issues of good governance centre stage, but further loosening the weak checks and balances that characterise post-communist democracy and embedding private interests at the core of the state."[27]

In a 2019 paper, presented to the International Society of Political Psychologists, Shawn Rosenberg argues that right-wing populism is exposing a vulnerability in democratic structures and that "democracy is likely to devour itself."[28]

Economic inequality and social discontent[edit]

Many political economy scholars, such as Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, have investigated the effect of income inequality on the democratic breakdown.[4] Studies of democratic collapse show that economic inequality is significantly higher in countries that eventually move towards a more authoritarian model.[29] Hungary is an example of a country where a large group of unemployed, low-educated people were dissatisfied with the high levels of inequality, especially after the financial crisis of 2007–2008. Viktor Orbán used this dissatisfaction of a relatively large segment of the population to his advantage, winning popular support by using national-populist rhetoric.[30]


A 2019 study found that personalism had an adverse impact on democracy in Latin America: "presidents who dominate their own weakly organized parties are more likely to seek to concentrate power, undermine horizontal accountability, and trample the rule of law than presidents who preside over parties that have an independent leadership and an institutionalized bureaucracy."[31]


Many national governments worldwide found themselves with no other choice but to delay, postpone or cancel a variety of democratic elections at both national and subnational governmental levels resulting in the COVID-19 pandemic opening gaps in the action of democracy.[32][33] In reference to 'western countries', the 2020 United Kingdom local elections were postponed for a year; the longest postponement of democratic elections in the UK since the Interwar period during the 20th Century.[34] At the beginning of the crisis UN experts advised government responses to be “proportionate, necessary and non-discriminatory”.[35] According to the V-Dem Institute, only 39% of all countries have committed no or minor violations of democratic standards in response to Covid-19.[36] Regardless of the fact that liberal democracy was on the defensive and experiencing a rise of autocrats and authoritarian regimes in many parts of the world prior to the first coronavirus death in December 2019, the pandemic has had a major influence on democratic backsliding.[37]

In Cambodia, some individuals who expressed concerns about the spread of COVID-19 have been arrested on "fake news" charges.[38][39] In the Philippines,[40] India,[41][42] Egypt,[43] Bangladesh,[44] Morocco,[45] Pakistan,[46] Montenegro,[47] Indonesia,[42] Mongolia,[42] Sri Lanka,[42] Kenya, South Africa,[48] Nigeria,[49] Ethiopia,[50] Cote d'Ivoire,[51] Somalia,[52] Mauritius,[53] Zimbabwe,[54] Thailand,[55] Malaysia[56] Singapore,[57][58] and Hong Kong, people have been arrested for allegedly spreading "fake news" about the COVID-19 pandemic.[59][42] The Turkish Interior Ministry has been arresting social media users whose posts were "targeting officials and spreading panic and fear by suggesting the virus had spread widely in Turkey and that officials had taken insufficient measures".[60]


The 2019 Annual Democracy Report of the V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg identified three challenges confronting global democracy: (1) "Government manipulation of media, civil society, rule of law, and elections"; (2) rising "toxic polarization," including "the division of society into distrustful, antagonistic camps"; diminishing "respect for opponents, factual reasoning, and engagement with society" among political elites; and increasing use of hate speech by political leaders; and (3) foreign disinformation campaigns, primarily digital, and mostly affecting Taiwan, the United States, and former Soviet bloc nations such as Latvia.[61]

According to Suzanne Mettler and Robert C. Lieberman, four characteristics have typically provided the conditions for democratic backsliding (alone or in combination): Political polarization, racism and nativism, economic inequality, and excessive executive power.[62][63][64]

A 2020 study, which used World Values Survey data, found that cultural conservatism was the ideological group most open to authoritarian governance within Western democracies. Within English-speaking Western democracies, "protection-based" attitudes combining cultural conservatism and leftist economic attitudes were the strongest predictor of support for authoritarian modes of governance.[65]

Stephen Haggard and Robert Kaufmann highlight three key causes of backsliding: "the pernicious effects of polarization; realignments of party systems that enable elected autocrats to gain legislative power; and the incremental nature of derogations, which divides oppositions and keeps them off balance."[66]

Prevalence and trends[edit]

A study by the Varieties of Democracy Project (V-Dem) of the V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg, which contains more than eighteen-million data points relevant to democracy, measuring 350 highly specific indicators across 174 countries as of the end of 2016, found that the number of democracies in the world modestly declined from 100 in 2011 to 97 in 2017; some countries moved toward democracy, while other countries moved away from democracy.[67] V-Dem's 2019 Annual Democracy Report found that the trend of autocratization continued, while "24 countries are now severely affected by what is established as a 'third wave of autocratization'" including "populous countries such as Brazil, Bangladesh and the United States, as well as several Eastern European countries" (specifically Bulgaria and Serbia).[61] The report found that an increasing proportion of the world population lived in countries undergoing autocratization (2.3 billion in 2018).[61] The report found that while the majority of countries were democracies, the number of liberal democracies declined to 39 by 2018 (down from 44 a decade earlier).[61] The research group Freedom House, in reports in 2017 and 2019, identified democratic backsliding in a variety of regions across the world.[68][69] Freedom House's 2019 Freedom in the World report, show Democracy in Retreat, showed freedom of expression declining each year over the preceding 13 years, with sharper drops since 2012.[70]

Scholarly work in the 2010s detailed democratic backsliding, in various forms and to various extents, in Hungary and Poland,[27] the Czech Republic,[71] Turkey,[72][73] Brazil, Venezuela[74][75] and India.[76]

The scholarly recognition of the concept of democratic backsliding reflects a reversal from older views, which held "that democracy, once attained in a fairly wealthy state, would become a permanent fixture."[13] This older view came to be realized as erroneous beginning in the mid-2000s, as multiple scholars acknowledged that some seemingly-stable democracies have recently faced a decline in the quality of their democracy.[29] Huq and Ginsburg identified in an academic paper "37 instances in 25 different countries in the postwar period in which democratic quality declined significantly (though a fully authoritarian regime didn't emerge)," including countries that were "seemingly stable, reasonably wealthy" democracies.[16]

The 2020 report of the Varieties of Democracy Institute found that the global share of democracies declined from 54% in 2009 to 49% in 2019, and that a greater share of the global population lived in autocratizing countries (6% in 2009, 34% in 2019).[77] The 10 countries with the highest degree of democratizing from 2009 to 2019 were Tunisia, Armenia, The Gambia, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Myanmar, Fiji, Kyrgyzstan, Ecuador, and Niger; the 10 countries with the highest degree of autocratizing from 2009 to 2019 were Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Bangladesh, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua, and Zambia.[77] However, the institute found that signs of hope in an "unprecedented degree of mobilization for democracy" as reflected in increases in pro-democracy mass mobilization; the proportion of countries with "substantial pro-democracy mass protests" increased to 44% in 2019 (from 27% in 2009).[77]

According to a 2020 study, "Democratic backsliding does not necessarily see all democratic institutions erode in parallel fashion... we establish that elections are improving and rights are retracting in the same time period, and in many of the same cases."[78]


Political scientist Robert Muggah argued in Foreign Policy that Brazil was undergoing backsliding under President Jair Bolsonaro, noting Bolsonaro's criticisms of the judiciary and the electoral system, and his participation in anti-democratic rallies.[79]

Central and Eastern Europe[edit]

In the 2010s, a scholarly consensus developed that the Central and Eastern Europe region was experiencing democratic backsliding, most prominently in Hungary and Poland[27] and the European Union failed to prevent democratic backsliding in some of its other member states.[80][81] Rutgers University political scientist R. Daniel Kelemen argues that EU membership has enabled an "authoritarian equilibrium" and may even make it easier for authoritarian-minded leaders to erode democracy, due to the EU's system of party politics, a reluctance to interfere in domestic political matters; appropriation of EU funds by backsliding regimes; and free movement for dissatisfied citizens (which allows citizens to leave backsliding regimes, thus depleting the opposition and strengthening the regimes).[80] According to Dalia Research's 2020 poll, only 38 percent of Polish citizens and 36 percent of Hungarian citizens believe that their country are democratic, while the rest saying they would like their countries to be more democratic.[82]


Georgia's governing party, Georgian Dream (GD), was accused of democratic backsliding in a 2019 report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, for failing to approve more representative electoral reform proposals.[83] U.S. Senators Jim Risch and Jeanne Shaheen accused Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia of backsliding for not implementing the reforms.[84] The electoral system was ultimately reformed ahead of the 2020 Georgian parliamentary election in a compromise between the Georgian government and the opposition.[85]

Iulia-Sabina Joja of the Middle East Institute has disputed allegations of democratic backsliding against the Georgian government, stating that "Georgia has fared well over the last eight years and GD has stayed on the path of democratization and reform" and drawing attention to Georgian improvements on corruption perception and press freedom indices.[86]


Since 2010, Hungary under Viktor Orbán and his right-wing Fidesz party has been described as a prominent example of democratic backsliding.[27][87][88][89] As in Poland, political interference by the legislative and executive branches of government threatens the institutional independence of the judiciary.[90] In 2012, the legislature abruptly lowered the age of retirement for judges from 70 to 62, forcing 57 experienced court leaders (including the President of the Supreme Court) to retire.[91] After the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that this decision violated EU laws relating to equality in the employment context, the government repealed the law and compensated the judges, but did not reinstate those forced to retire.[90][92][93][94] The 2012 judiciary reform also centralized administration of the courts under the newly-established National Judiciary Office, then headed by Tünde Handó (a lawyer married to a prominent member of Fidesz).[90][91] Under Handó, the NJO also weakened the institutions of judicial self-governance, provoking what the European Association of Judges, Amnesty International, and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee describe as a "constitutional crisis" within the Hungarian judiciary.[95] Hungarian judges interviewed by Amnesty International also expressed concerns about attacks on the judiciary and individual judges by politicians and in the media.[90] The Hungarian government has dismissed criticism of its record on democracy issues.[96][97]

According to the 2020 report of the V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg, Hungary had by 2019 become the first-ever EU member state to become an authoritarian regime.[77] On Freedom House's annual report, Hungary's democracy rating dropped for ten consecutive years.[98] Its classification was downgraded from "democracy" to "transitional or hybrid regime" in 2020; Hungary was also the first EU member state to be labeled "partially free" (in 2019). The organization's 2020 report states that "Orbán's government in Hungary has similarly dropped any pretense of respecting democratic institutions".[99][100] A 2018 article published in the Journal of Democracy also described Hungary as a hybrid regime.[98]


Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski's VMRO-DPMNE government, which was in power from 2006 to 2016, has been described as engaging in democratic backsliding.[101] Following Gruevski's departure from office as part of the Pržino Agreement, he was prosecuted for the wiretapping of thousands of Macedonian officials, inciting his supporters to violence and election misconduct.[102] He subsequently fled the country and was granted political asylum in Hungary.[103]


In the Polish case, the European Commission stated in December 2017 that in the two preceding years, the Polish legislature had adopted "13 laws affecting the entire structure of the justice system in Poland" with the "common pattern [that] the executive and legislative branches [were] systematically enabled to politically interfere in the composition, powers, administration, and functioning of the judicial branch."[104] In February 2020, Věra Jourová, Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, described the disciplining of judges in Poland as "no longer a targeted intervention against individual black sheep, similar to other EU member states, but a case of carpet bombing. ... This is no reform, it's destruction."[105] In late September 2020, 38 European and other law professors called on the President of the European Commission to take action in Poland, stating:

Polish authorities continue to openly abuse, harass and intimidate judges and prosecutors who are seeking to defend the rule of law. In addition, Polish authorities continue to openly defy the authority of the Court of Justice by refusing to follow its judgments. ... judges who are attempting to apply EU law are being threatened and punished while those who flaunt violations of EU law are being rewarded. ... The rule of law in Poland is not merely being attacked. It is being destroyed in plain sight.[106]


The Social Democratic Party (PSD) has been repeatedly accused of democratic backsliding while in power in Romania, initially during the tenure of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who led the country during the 2012 Romanian constitutional crisis, when Ponta engaged in several unconstitutional actions in an attempt to impeach President Traian Băsescu.[107] Ponta's conduct was criticized by the European Union and the United States.[108]

Ponta was accused of restricting voting among the Romanian diaspora in the 2014 Romanian presidential election,[109] during which Ponta was running as the PSD presidential candidate.[110] Following the election, which Ponta lost, his close ally, Sebastian Ghiță, was indicted for offering illegal incentives to Moldovans with Romanian citizenship to vote for Ponta.[111] Ghiță subsequently fled the country for Serbia, due to his good relationship with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić.[112] Ponta also left Romania for Serbia from 2016 to 2018, receiving Serbian citizenship and serving as an advisor to Vučic.[113]

After facing a corruption investigation in 2015, Ponta initially refused to resign as Prime Minister, prompting the 2015 Romanian political crisis. After the 2015 Romanian protests, Ponta ultimately resigned in November 2015.[114]

PSD leader Liviu Dragnea, who was accused of vote rigging during the 2012 referendum, was ultimately convicted in 2015.[115] He was later indicted for abuse of office in 2016, preventing him from running for Prime Minister.[116]

In 2017, PSD Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu's government passed new legislation decriminalising misconduct by officials, which was condemned by President Klaus Johannis as a "day of mourning for the rule of law" in Romania. The legislation led to the 2017 Romanian protests.[117]

In 2019, Romania indicted Laura Codruța Kövesi, the former chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate, who was running for European Chief Prosecutor at the time, leading EU authorities to condemn Romania for backsliding on the rule of law. Critics claimed that Romania's indictment of Kövesi was motivated by her indictment of numerous politicians, including Dragnea, on corruption charges.[118] Ponta, who had then become an opponent of Dragnea and the Romanian government after leaving the PSD, criticized the decision and described the PSD as increasingly "Fidesz-like", referring to the Hungarian ruling party.[119]

The European Commission and European Court of Justice Advocate-General have criticized Romania's 2020 judicial reforms, suggesting that they undermined the rule of law in the country.[120][121] The PSD lost power after the 2020 Romanian legislative election, with the new government pledging to reverse the reforms to comply with the EU's Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification.[122]

Serbia and Montenegro[edit]

Freedom House's annual Nations in Transit report in 2020 reported that, due to democratic backsliding, Serbia and Montenegro in the Balkans were no longer democracies (as they had been classified since 2003) but had instead become hybrid regimes (in the "gray zone" between "democracies and pure autocracies").[123] The reported cited "years of increasing state capture, abuse of power, and strongman tactics employed" by Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Montenegrin President Milo Đukanović.[123] Shortly after that report was published, the opposition won the 2020 Montenegrin parliamentary election and Zdravko Krivokapić was appointed to the office of Prime Minister, marking the first time since independence that the opposition has controlled the country's government.


The tenure of Vladimír Mečiar as Slovak Prime Minister and President in the 1990s has been described by political scientists Elisabeth Bakke and Nick Sitter as a period of democratic backsliding, due to Mečiar's control over state media and centralisation of executive power.[124]

Widespread protests in 2018 following the murder of Ján Kuciak have been described by some scholars as "helping to stave off democratic backsliding" by causing the resignation of Robert Fico, who served as Prime Minister from 2006 to 2010 and 2012 to 2018.[125] However, Bakke and Sitter have disputed allegations of democratic backsliding against Fico, noting that Fico often emphasized "his commitment to pluralistic democracy", which contrasted with the Polish and Hungarian leadership during that time period and Slovakia under Mečiar.[126]


Prime Minister Janez Janša has been criticised by Žiga Faktor of the EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy for overseeing democratic backsliding in Slovenia. Faktor claimed that Janša had aligned Slovenia closely with Hungary, denied journalists access to information during the COVID-19 pandemic, and had expanded his Slovenian Democratic Party's influence over the country's media with Hungarian financial support.[127]


Several Ukrainian governments have faced accusations of democratic backsliding.

Prior to the removal of President Viktor Yanukovych in the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, Ukraine was described by political scientist Eleanor Knott as experiencing democratic backsliding and "soft authoritarianism".[128]

The Atlantic Council's Maxim Eristavi claimed in 2017 that "Ukrainian democracy is in danger" following President Petro Poroshenko's attempts to arrest his former ally and opposition figure Mikheil Saakashvili, and calls by Poroshenko's party for criminal investigations into another political opponent, Yulia Tymoshenko.[129]

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy drew criticism for democratic backsliding from members of the U.S. House of Representatives following Zelenskiy's firing of a pro-reform cabinet and the resignation of former National Bank of Ukraine Governor Yakiv Smolii.[130] Melinda Haring of the Atlantic Council has warned the Constitutional Court of Ukraine's removal of authority from National Agency for Prevention of Corruption could put the country on the "on the edge of a major constitutional crisis" and criticized Zelenskiy's attempts to reform the Ukrainian judiciary as "ineffectual".[131]


El Salvador[edit]

El Salvador has been described as undergoing democratic backsliding after the election of President Nayib Bukele, particularly following the 2020 crisis, when Bukele sent soldiers into the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly to pressure and intimidate members of the Assembly.[132] In a June 2020 report, the V-Dem Institute wrote that El Salvador was "at high risk of pandemic backsliding" and that the country was one of several countries with "severe" violations of democratic standards of emergency measures, including: arbitrary mass arrests by security forces of persons deemed to violate social distancing rules (in contravention of a number of decisions of the Supreme Court).[133]

Hong Kong[edit]


The V-Dem Institute has claimed that democratic backsliding is taking place in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, citing the passage of the 2019 Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the government's subsequent response to the Citizenship Amendment Act protests. It also accused the Indian government of attempting to "stifle critics in the media and academia".[134].

Foreign policy commentator Jonah Blank has described the 2019 revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir as an example of the "slow transmogrification of democracy" under the Modi government.[135]

In 2020, the V-Dem Institute identified India as one of five severe cases of democratic backsliding, relating to disproportionate limitations being placed upon the role of the legislature through measures responding to COVID-19. This, they asserted, may lead to an 'increased danger of power abuse by the executive'.[133]

Indian lawyer Gautam Bhatia asserts that the Indian government has taken advantage of 'vaguely worded' legislative clauses, some of a 'colonial vintage', to effectively bypass the 'deliberative organ' (the legislative) in relation to COVID-19. Some of these laws, he further asserted, technically hold 'formal statutory backing', making it more difficult for the legislature to oppose executive power.[136]

The Economist Intelligence Unit downgraded India from 51st place to 53rd place in their 2020 Democracy Index, citing "democratic backsliding" and "crackdowns" on civil liberties.[137]

In its 2021 Democracy under Siege report, Freedom House downgraded India from 'free' to 'partly free', citing the response to the Citizenship Amendment Act protests.[138]

India has turned into an electoral autocracy according to the 2021 democracy report by V-Dem.[139]


A number of scholars and commentators have identified Israel since the late 2010s, under the premiership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as facing a crisis of liberal democracy and a risk of right-wing populism-fueled democratic decline, undermining its traditional status as a democratic state.[140][141][142][143][144] Yaniv Roznai of the Radzyner Law School at Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya wrote in 2018 that while Israel remained "a vibrant democracy with strong and effective judicial and democratic institutions," its liberal democracy was at risk "incremental erosion of Israel's democratic institutions through countless initiatives to prevent antigovernment criticism, to weaken the judiciary, to infringe minority rights, and to modify the democratic rules of the game."[140] Various scholars and commentators have cited as examples of democratic risks in Israel the "rise of ethno-nationalist populism"[141] and the passage of the Nation-State Law;[142][144] the use of nativist and exclusionary rhetoric by Netanyahu and his cabinet ministers,[144][141] including comments during the 2015 election campaign delegitimizing Arab Israeli voters[140][144] and comments labeling opponents and left-wing critics as traitors and tools of outside forces;[141] proposals to change Israeli law to modify the status of (or unilaterally annex) the West Bank;[140][142] Netanyahu's effort to grant himself immunity from prosecution on charges of corruption;[142] legislative proposals to limit the powers and independence of the Israeli Supreme Court, including the scope of its judicial review competence;[140] overtly racist or fear-mongering campaign advertisements by some parties of the populist right;[141] and efforts to exert greater control over the media[140][142] and NGOs.[142]

In a 2019 report, Tamara Cofman Wittes and Yael Mizrahi-Arnaud of the Brookings Institution argue that Israeli politics has "sources of resilience" that offer "pathways away from illiberal populism" including structural features of the Israeli political system (such as norms of liberal democracy and a fragmented parliamentary system that leads to competing populist parties) and cultural features of the Israeli society (such as a burgeoning women's movement that spans "secular-religious, Ashkenazi-Mizrachi, and Jewish-Arab divides").[141]



Under the rule of President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines has been described as undergoing democratic backsliding.[145]

David Timberman of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has argued that the Duterte government has "run roughshod over human rights, its political opponents, and the country’s democratic institutions", citing intimidation of political opponents, institutions and the media, increased extrajudicial killings, and suggestions of implementing martial law.[146]


Under 20 years of Vladimir Putin's leadership, Russia has experienced democratic backsliding. Putin became president in 1999 just before Russia was to see a decade of growth, and he was able to use "public and elite dissatisfaction with the insatiability of the 90s" to consolidate power in his hands.[147] The centralization of power under Putin weakened power of the Russian Duma (Parliament), and led to a return to more autocratic rule seen during the Soviet era. In the late 1990s when Boris Yeltsin was president, Freedom House gave Russia a scope of 4 for "freedom, civil liberties and political rights.".[148]

After the subsequent de-democratization, experts do not generally consider Russia to be a democracy, due to the purges and jailing of the regime's political opponents, curtailed press freedom, and the lack of free and fair elections. After serving four years as prime minister, Putin was able to change the constitution to allow him to be president for two consecutive terms, meaning there is little constraint on Putin's power.[147] Putin's 2012 "foreign agents law" targeted NGOs and furthered the crackdown on internal dissent.[147][4][17][29][68][89]

Scholars differ in their perspectives on the significant post-1998 democratic backsliding in Russia under Putin.[149] Some view Russia's 1990s-era trend toward European-style democratization as fundamentally an ephemeral aberration, with Russia's subsequent democratic backsliding representing a return to its "natural" historical course.[149] The opposite perspective is that the democratic decline under Putin will be a relatively short-term episode in Russian history: "From this perspective, Russia after 1991 was back on the path to Europe after the seventy-year interruption represented by communism," and "that path was inevitably to be bumpy and subject to setbacks."[149]


According to a 2020 study, Singapore experienced democratic backsliding after the 2015 general election.[150]



Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has experienced democratic backsliding.[72][73][151][152] Scholar Ozan Varol writes that Erdoğan engaged in a form of "stealth authoritarianism" that incrementally increased pressure on democratic institutions over time and eventually culminated in authoritarianism.[19] Although Erdoğan was originally viewed as a possible reformer, the Turkish government took a sharp authoritarian turn when it violently suppressed the Gezi Park protests in May 2013.[153] Increasing curbs on freedom of the press, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly coincided with Erdoğan's purge of liberal and conciliatory figures from the Justice and Development Party (AKP).[153] A constitutional referendum in October 2007 changed the method of selection of the president from election by Parliament to direct election, marking a shift to a presidential system.[153] Erdoğan consolidated executives power through his re-election in 2014 and his subsequent dismissal of Ahmet Davutoğlu.[153] Following a failed coup attempt in 2016 (which Erdoğan blamed on the Hizmet movement of his former ally-turned-rival, Fethullah Gülen), Erdoğan declared a state of emergency; undertook a series of major purges targeting civil society and perceived political opponents, including those within the bureaucracy, police, judiciary, and academia, and prosecutors; and dismantled the rule of law.[153] A 2017 constitutional referendum formally adopted a presidential system and further aggrandized executive power.[153][19] The effect of the shifts, partly enabled by a weak and internally divided Turkish opposition,[153][19] was to transform Turkey into a hybrid regime.[73] In its 2018 annual report, Freedom House classified Turkey as "not free" (the first time the country has been classified as such by Freedom House, which began publishing annual reports in 1999).[153] A 2019 report from the European Commission identified Turkey as "seriously backsliding" on areas of human rights, the rule of law and economic policy.[154]

A contrary view holds that Turkey was never a democracy to begin with.[155][156]

United States[edit]

Political scientists have credited Newt Gingrich with playing a key role in undermining democratic norms in the United States and hastening political polarization and partisanship as the 50th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999.[157][158][159][160]

Beginning in 2017, political scientists identified the United States under President Donald Trump as being in danger of accelerated democratic backsliding.[161][162] In a 2019 journal article, political scientists Robert C. Lieberman, Suzanne Mettler, and others wrote that Trump's presidency presented a threat to the American democratic order because it simultaneously brought together three specific trends—"polarized two-party presidentialism; a polity fundamentally divided over membership and status in the political community, in ways structured by race and economic inequality; and the erosion of democratic norms"—for the first time in American history.[163] Lieberman et al. noted that Trump has "repeatedly challenged the very legitimacy of the basic mechanics and norms of the American electoral process, invoking the specter of mass voter fraud, encouraging voter suppression, selectively attacking the Electoral College, and even threatening to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power" and noted that "Never in the modern era has a presidential candidate threatened to lock up his opponent; castigated people so publicly and repeatedly on the basis of their country of origin, religion, sex, disability, or military service record; or operated with no evident regard for facts or truth."[163] In 2020, political scientists Alexander Cooley and Daniel Nexon, wrote that "the Trump administration has consistently de-emphasized the importance of human rights and democracy in its rhetoric and while adopting language and tropes similar to those of right-wing, illiberal movements."[164] Colley and Nexon cited Trump's praise of autocratic rulers, his echoing of ethno-nationalist rhetoric, his efforts to delegitimize journalism and journalists as "fake news" and his policies erecting new barriers to refugees and asylum-seekers as similar to politics "found in backsliding regimes."[164]

Political scientist Pippa Norris wrote in 2021 that democratic backsliding under Trump culminated in his attempts to undermine the peaceful transfer of power and overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Trump was defeated by Joe Biden; Trump incited an insurrection at the Capitol in January 2021, which briefly interrupted Congress's counting of the electoral votes, which formalized Trump's loss and the victory of the incoming president.[165]

The 2019 annual democracy report of the V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg found that the U.S. under Trump was among the world's liberal democracies experiencing "democratic erosion" (but not full-scale "democratic breakdown"). The report cited an increase in "polarization of society and disrespect in public deliberations" as well as Trump's attacks on the media and opposition and attempts to contain the judiciary and the legislature.[61] The report concluded, however, that "American institutions appear to be withstanding these attempts to a significant degree," noting that Democrats had won a majority the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections, which "seems to have reversed the trajectory of an increasingly unconstrained executive."[61] The V-Dem Institute's 2020 report found that the U.S. had "registered a substantial decline in liberal democracy" under Trump; the report also found that "the United States of America is the only country in Western Europe and North America suffering from substantial autocratization."[77]

According to a 2020 study in the American Political Science Review, Americans value democracy but are frequently willing to prioritize partisan political gains over democracy if the two are in conflict.[166]

In 2021 a Freedom House report rated the U.S. 83 out of 100, an 11-point drop from its rating of 94 out of 100 in 2011. Issues such as Institutional racism in the United States in criminal justice and voting, the negative influence of campaign finance which damages public trust in government, and increased Political polarization in the United States due to extreme use of partisan Gerrymandering were cited as reasons for the decline in the United States' rating.[167]


Since the late 1990s, Venezuela has undergone a significant backslide in democratic institutions.[75] Chavismo propelled democratic backsliding in Venezuela.[168]

From 1958 onward, Venezuela was considered to be a relatively stable democracy within a continent that was facing a wave of military dictatorship, consuming almost all Latin American countries in the 1970s.[169][170] Until the early 1980s, it was one of Latin America's four most prosperous states; with an upper-middle economy, and a stable centre-left democracy.[170] The collapse of the oil market in the 1980s left Venezuela (a major crude oil exporter) in great debt.[169][170]

In the 1990s, during the second term of Carlos Andrés Pérez and the term of his successor Rafael Caldera, the country implemented market-oriented strategies in order to receive monetary aid from the International Monetary Fund, cuts spending on social programs, and eliminated price controls on consumer goods and gas,[169] which caused social unrest and high inflation.[170] Hugo Chávez won the presidency in December 1998 by appealing on the desires of the poor and pledging economic reforms,[169][170] and, once in office, securing his power by creating an authoritarian regime, following a relatively stable pattern between 1999 and 2003.[171] Chávez started rewriting the constitution swiftly after arriving in-office.[172] After enabling himself to legally rewrite the constitution and therewith amending a presidential term from five to six years, with a single reelection, Chávez gained full control over the military branch. This allowed him to determine military promotions, and eliminate the Senate. As a result he no longer required legislative approval.[172][173] The weakening of political institutions and increased government corruption transformed Venezuela into a personal dictatorship.[171][174][175]

Chavez's dominance of the media (including a constant presence on television) and his charismatic personality contributed to democratic backsliding in Venezuela,[176] in addition to constitutional revisions that concentrated Chávez's power and diminished the executive's accountability.[177]

A rapid increase in crude oil prices around 2003 fueled economic growth in the country, allowing Chávez and his party to further entrench their dominance.[172] By 2004, Chávez had gained full authority over the democracy-sustaining institutions, diminishing checks and balances and the power of the National Assembly.[172] Accusing traditional parties from causing the initial economic distress through exploitation of the country, he justified the weakening of non-executive branches by arguing that those branches were dominated by the traditional parties, and therefore unreliable.[172] After Chávez' death in 2013, his successor Nicolás Maduro continued an authoritarian style of governance.[175][178][179] After the Venezuelan opposition won a majority of the National Assembly in the 2015 elections, Maduro and his allies retained control of the other key levers of power, including the military, state-run oil company, Supreme Court, and National Electoral Council.[180] In 2017, Maduro and his allies, moved to circumvent the opposition-controlled National Assembly by creating a Constituent National Assembly, dominated by government loyalists,[180] and declaring it the supreme organ of state power.[176] This move further intensified Venezuela's democratic backsliding.[180] Currently, Venezuela is an authoritarian regime,[178][179] and had even been described as a personal dictatorship.[175]

Effects of judicial independence[edit]

A 2011 study examined the effects of judicial independence in preventing democratic backsliding. The study, which analyzed 163 nations from 1960 to 2000, concluded that established independent judiciaries are successful at preventing democracies from drifting to authoritarianism, but that states with newly formed courts "are positively associated with regime collapses in both democracies and nondemocracies."[181]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b Skaaning, Svend-Erik (2020). "Waves of autocratization and democratization: a critical note on conceptualization and measurement". Democratization. 27 (8): 1533–1542. doi:10.1080/13510347.2020.1799194. S2CID 225378571.
  2. ^ Lührmann, Anna; Lindberg, Staffan I. (2019). "A third wave of autocratization is here: what is new about it?". Democratization. 26 (7): 1095–1113. doi:10.1080/13510347.2019.1582029. S2CID 150992660.
  3. ^ Mudde, Cas and Kaltwasser, Cristóbal Rovira (2017) Populism: a Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press. pp.86-96. ISBN 978-0-19-023487-4
  4. ^ a b c Walder, D.; Lust, E. (2018). "Unwelcome Change: Coming to Terms with Democratic Backsliding". Annual Review of Political Science. 21 (1): 93–113. doi:10.1146/annurev-polisci-050517-114628.
  5. ^ Lindberg, Staffan I. "The Nature of Democratic Backsliding in Europe". Carnegie Europe. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  6. ^ a b Rocha Menocal, Alina; Fritz, Verena; Rakner, Lise (June 2008). "Hybrid regimes and the challenges of deepening and sustaining democracy in developing countries1". South African Journal of International Affairs. 15 (1): 29–40. doi:10.1080/10220460802217934. ISSN 1022-0461. S2CID 55589140.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bermeo, Nancy (January 2016). "On Democratic Backsliding" (PDF). Journal of Democracy. 27 (1): 5–19. doi:10.1353/jod.2016.0012. ISSN 1086-3214. S2CID 155798358.
  8. ^ Huntington, Samuel P. (1991). "Democracy's Third Wave" (PDF). Journal of Democracy. 2 (2): 12–34. doi:10.1353/jod.1991.0016. ISSN 1086-3214. S2CID 154024247.
  9. ^ Maerz, Seraphine F.; Lührmann, Anna; Hellmeier, Sebastian; Grahn, Sandra; Lindberg, Staffan I. (18 May 2020). "State of the world 2019: autocratization surges – resistance grows". Democratization. 27 (6): 909–927. doi:10.1080/13510347.2020.1758670. ISSN 1351-0347.
  10. ^ Carothers, Thomas (1 January 2002). "The End of the Transition Paradigm". Journal of Democracy. 13 (1): 5–21. doi:10.1353/jod.2002.0003. ISSN 1086-3214. S2CID 20154183.
  11. ^ O'Donnell, Guillermo (1 July 2002). "Debating the Transition Paradigm: In Partial Defense of an Evanescent "Paradigm"". Journal of Democracy. 13 (3): 6–12. doi:10.1353/jod.2002.0052. ISSN 1086-3214. S2CID 154986002.
  12. ^ "Pandemic Backsliding". V-Dem. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  13. ^ a b c d e "How democratic backsliding happens". Democracy Digest. 21 February 2017.
  14. ^ Waldner, David; Lust, Ellen (11 May 2018). "Unwelcome Change: Coming to Terms with Democratic Backsliding". Annual Review of Political Science. 21 (1): 93–113. doi:10.1146/annurev-polisci-050517-114628. ISSN 1094-2939.
  15. ^ a b Diamond, Larry (15 September 2020). "Democratic regression in comparative perspective: scope, methods, and causes". Democratization. 28: 22–42. doi:10.1080/13510347.2020.1807517. ISSN 1351-0347.
  16. ^ a b c Huq, Aziz; Ginsburg, Tom (21 February 2017). "How to lose a constitutional democracy". Vox'.
  17. ^ a b c Kyle, Jordan; Mounk, Yascha (December 2018). "The Populist Harm to Democracy: An Empirical Assessment" (PDF). Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
  18. ^ a b Levitsky, Steven; Ziblatt, Daniel (2018). How Democracies Die. United States: Crown. pp. 76–78.
  19. ^ a b c d e Ozan O.Varol. "Stealth Authoritarianism in Turkey". In Mark A. Graber; Sanford Levinson; Mark V. Tushnet (eds.). Constitutional Democracy in Crisis?. Oxford University Press. pp. 339–354. ISBN 978-0-19-088898-5. OCLC 1030444422.
  20. ^ "Linz, J. and Stepan, A., 1998. Problems of democratic transition and consolidation. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, p.38."
  21. ^ Huntington, Samuel P. (2005). Democracy's Third Wave. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 23. ISBN 9780806125169.
  22. ^ Sadurski, Wojciech; Sevel, Michael; Walton, Kevin, eds. (1 April 2019). Legitimacy: The State and Beyond. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-882526-5.
  23. ^ Issacharoff, Samuel (2018). "III Factors, 25 Populism versus Democratic Governance". In Mark a, Graber; Sanford, Levinson; Mark, Tushnet (eds.). Constitutional Democracy in Crisis?. Oxford Constitutions. doi:10.1093/law/9780190888985.001.0001. ISBN 9780190888985. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  24. ^ a b c d Norris, Pippa (April 2017). "Is Western Democracy Backsliding? Diagnosing the Risks" (PDF). Journal of Democracy (Scholarly response to column published online). Online Exchange on “Democratic Deconsolidation”. Johns Hopkins University Press. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 April 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  25. ^ Mudde, Cas and Kaltwasser, Cristóbal Rovira (2017) Populism: a Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press. pp.95-96. ISBN 978-0-19-023487-4
  26. ^ Kyle, Yascha Mounk, Jordan (26 December 2018). "What Populists Do to Democracies". The Atlantic. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  27. ^ a b c d Licia Cianetti; James Dawson; Seán Hanley (2018). "Rethinking "democratic backsliding" in Central and Eastern Europe – looking beyond Hungary and Poland". East European Politics. 34 (3): 243–256. doi:10.1080/21599165.2018.1491401. Over the past decade, a scholarly consensus has emerged that that democracy in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is deteriorating, a trend often subsumed under the label 'backsliding'. ... the new dynamics of backsliding are best illustrated by the one-time democratic front-runners Hungary and Poland.
  28. ^ Rosenberg, S (1 January 2019). Democracy Devouring Itself: The Rise of the Incompetent Citizen and the Appeal of Right-Wing Populism. eScholarship, University of California. OCLC 1055900632.
  29. ^ a b c Huq, Aziz; Ginsburg, Tom (2018). "How to Lose a Constitutional Democracy". UCLA Law Review. 65: 78–169.
  30. ^ Greskovitz, Béla (2015). "The Hollowing and Backsliding of Democracy in East-Central Europe". Global Policy. 6 (1): 28–37. doi:10.1111/1758-5899.12225.
  31. ^ Rhodes-Purdy, Matthew; Madrid, Raúl L. (27 November 2019). "The perils of personalism". Democratization. 27 (2): 321–339. doi:10.1080/13510347.2019.1696310. ISSN 1351-0347. S2CID 212974380.
  32. ^ "Global overview of COVID-19: Impact on elections". Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  33. ^ Repucci, Sarah; Slipowitz, Amy. "Democracy under Lockdown". Freedom House. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  34. ^ "Coronavirus: English local elections postponed for a year". BBC News. 13 March 2020.
  35. ^ "COVID-19: States should not abuse emergency measures to suppress human rights – UN experts". OHCHR. 2021. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  36. ^ B. Edgell, A., Grahn, S., Lachapelle, J., Lührmann, A. and F. Maerz, S. (2021). "An Update on Pandemic Backsliding: Democracy Four Months After the Beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic". Accessed 4 February 2021.
  37. ^ Keilitz, Ingo (10 August 2020). "Illiberalism Enabled by the Coronavirus Pandemic: An Existential Threat to Judicial Independence". International Journal for Court Administration. 11 (2): 2. doi:10.36745/ijca.339. S2CID 225514092.
  38. ^ "Cambodia accused of political clampdown amid coronavirus outbreak". Al Jazeera. 24 March 2020.
  39. ^ "Cambodia's Lost Digital Opportunity in the COVID-19 Fight". The Diplomat. 17 April 2020.
  40. ^ "The Philippines' Coronavirus Lockdown Is Becoming a Crackdown". The Diplomat. 3 April 2020.
  41. ^ "Fake News, Real Arrests". Foreign Policy. 17 April 2020.
  42. ^ a b c d e "Asia cracks down on coronavirus 'fake news'". The Straits Times. 10 April 2020.
  43. ^ "Reporting on the coronavirus: Egypt muzzles critical journalists". Deutsche Welle. 3 April 2020.
  44. ^ "Bangladesh: End Wave of COVID-19 'Rumor' Arrests". Human Rights Watch. 31 March 2020.
  45. ^ "Morocco makes a dozen arrests over coronavirus fake news". Reuters. 19 March 2020.
  46. ^ "Man arrested for spreading fake news on coronavirus". Pakistan Today. 25 March 2020.
  47. ^ "Concern for Rights in Montenegro amid COVID-19 Fight". Balkan Insight. 26 March 2020.
  48. ^ "Arrests mount as Africa battles a destructive wave of COVID-19 disinformation". The Globe and Mail. 7 April 2020.
  49. ^ "Coronavirus Law Used to Arrest Nigerian Journalist Over Health Story". Market Watch. 20 April 2020.
  50. ^ "Ethiopia: Free Speech at Risk Amid Covid-19". Human Rights Watch. 6 May 2020.
  51. ^ "Authorities across West Africa attacking journalists covering COVID-19 pandemic". IFEX. 22 April 2020.
  52. ^ "Somali Journalists Arrested, Intimidated While Covering COVID-19". VOA News. 18 April 2020.
  53. ^ "Controls to manage fake news in Africa are affecting freedom of expression". The Conversation. 11 May 2020.
  54. ^ "Press freedom violations throughout Africa linked to Covid-19 coverage". Radio France Internationale. 14 April 2020.
  55. ^ "Some leaders use pandemic to sharpen tools against critics". ABC News. 16 April 2020.
  56. ^ "Malaysia Arrests Thousands Amid Coronavirus Lockdown". VOA News. 4 April 2020.
  57. ^ "Civil servant arrested for leaking info on number of virus cases". The Straits Times. 16 April 2020.
  58. ^ "Singapore's Fake News and Contempt Laws a Threat to Media, Journalists Say". VOA News. 6 May 2020.
  59. ^ "Coronavirus sends Asia's social media censors into overdrive". Reuters. 4 February 2020.
  60. ^ "Coronavirus Has Started a Censorship Pandemic". The Foreign Policy. 1 April 2020.
  61. ^ a b c d e f Democracy Facing Global Challenges: V-Dem Annual Democracy Report 2019 (PDF) (Report). V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg. May 2019.
  62. ^ Mettler, Suzanne (2020). Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-1-250-24442-0. OCLC 1155487679.
  63. ^ Farrell, Henry (14 August 2020). "History tells us there are four key threats to U.S. democracy". The Washington Post.
  64. ^ Lieberman, By Suzanne Mettler and Robert C. (10 August 2020). "The Fragile Republic". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  65. ^ Malka, Ariel; Lelkes, Yphtach; Bakker, Bert N.; Spivack, Eliyahu (2020). "Who Is Open to Authoritarian Governance within Western Democracies?". Perspectives on Politics: 1–20. doi:10.1017/S1537592720002091. ISSN 1537-5927.
  66. ^ Haggard, Stephan; Kaufman, Robert (2021). Backsliding: Democratic Regress in the Contemporary World. Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108957809. ISBN 9781108957809. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  67. ^ Mechkova, Valeriya; Lührmann, Anna; Lindberg, Staffan I. (2017). "How Much Democratic Backsliding?". Journal of Democracy. 28 (4): 162–169. doi:10.1353/jod.2017.0075. ISSN 1086-3214. S2CID 158736288.
  68. ^ a b Democracy in Retreat (Report). Freedom House. 2019.
  69. ^ Esther King (31 January 2017). "Democratic backsliding threatens international order". Politico.
  70. ^ Democracy in Retreat: Freedom in the World 2019 (Report). Freedom House. 2020.
  71. ^ Seán Hanley & Milada Anna Vachudova (2018). "Understanding the illiberal turn: democratic backsliding in the Czech Republic". East European Politics. 34 (3): 276–296. doi:10.1080/21599165.2018.1493457.
  72. ^ a b Cemal Burak Tansel (2018). "Authoritarian Neoliberalism and Democratic Backsliding in Turkey: Beyond the Narratives of Progress". South European Society and Politics. 23 (2): 197–217. doi:10.1080/13608746.2018.1479945.
  73. ^ a b c Kadir Akyuz & Steve Hess (2018). "Turkey Looks East: International Leverage and Democratic Backsliding in a Hybrid Regime". Mediterranean Quarterly. 29 (2): 1–26. doi:10.1215/10474552-6898075. S2CID 158084228.
  74. ^ Laura Gamboa (2017). "Opposition at the Margins: Strategies against the Erosion of Democracy in Colombia and Venezuela". Comparative Politics. 49 (4): 457–477. doi:10.5129/001041517821273044. S2CID 157426820.
  75. ^ a b Sabatini, Christopher (1 November 2016). "The Final Blow to Venezuela's Democracy: What Latin America Can Do About It". Foreign Affairs. ISSN 0015-7120.
  76. ^ "Democratic erosion in India; a case study".
  77. ^ a b c d e Autocratization Surges–Resistance Grows: Democracy Report 2020 Archived 30 March 2020 at the Wayback Machine, V-Dem Institute, University of Gothenburg (March 2020).
  78. ^ Ding, Iza; Slater, Dan (23 November 2020). "Democratic decoupling". Democratization. 28: 63–80. doi:10.1080/13510347.2020.1842361. ISSN 1351-0347.
  79. ^ "Bolsonaro Is Following Trump's Anti-Democracy Playbook". Foreign Policy. 14 January 2021.
  80. ^ a b Kelemen, R. Daniel (February 2020). "The European Union's Authoritarian Equilibrium". Journal of European Public Policy. 20 (3): 481–499. doi:10.1080/13501763.2020.1712455. S2CID 221055795.
  81. ^ Kelemen, R. Daniel (2 December 2019). "The E.U. is supposed to promote democracy. So why do anti-democratic politicians thrive within it?". Washington Post.
  82. ^ "Most Poles, Hungarians don't think their countries are democratic: poll". POLITICO. 15 June 2020. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  83. ^
  84. ^
  85. ^
  86. ^ Joja, Iulia-Sabina. "Georgian Elections 2020: A strong mandate for democratization and Westernization". Middle East Institute.
  87. ^ Kingsley, Patrick (10 February 2018). "As West Fears the Rise of Autocrats, Hungary Shows What's Possible". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  88. ^ Bozóki, András; Hegedűs, Dániel (3 October 2018). "An externally constrained hybrid regime: Hungary in the European Union". Democratization. 25 (7): 1173–1189. doi:10.1080/13510347.2018.1455664. ISSN 1351-0347.
  89. ^ a b Bogaards, Matthijs (17 November 2018). "De-democratization in Hungary: diffusely defective democracy". Democratization. 25 (8): 1481–1499. doi:10.1080/13510347.2018.1485015. ISSN 1351-0347.
  90. ^ a b c d "Hungary: Fearing the Unknown - How Rising Control Is Undermining Judicial Independence in Hungary". 6 April 2020. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  91. ^ a b "Opinion on Act CLXII of 2011 on the Legal Status and Remuneration of Judges and Act CLXI of 2011 on the Organisation and Administration of Courts of Hungary, adopted by the Venice Commission at its 90th Plenary Session (Venice, 16-17 March 2012)".
  92. ^ "CURIA - Documents". Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  93. ^ "A strasbourgi pereskedés is kellett ahhoz, hogy visszavonják a bírák kényszernyugdíjazását". Magyar Helsinki Bizottság. 20 December 2018.
  94. ^ "Nem volt jogsértő a bírák nyugdíjazása". Wolters Kluwer. 9 January 2019.
  95. ^ "A Constitutional Crisis in the Hungarian Judiciary" (PDF). Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  96. ^ "Hungary's Orban defies foreign criticism over laws". BBC News. 14 March 2013.
  97. ^ Keszthelyi, Christian (15 April 2016). "Szijjártó: Freedom House criticism of Hungary is 'nonsense'". Budapest Business Journal.
  98. ^ a b Krekó, Péter; Enyedi, Zsolt (2018). "Orbán's Laboratory of Illiberalism". Journal of Democracy. 29 (3): 39–51. doi:10.1353/jod.2018.0043. ISSN 1086-3214. S2CID 158956718.
  99. ^ "Dropping the Democratic Facade". Freedom House. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  100. ^ "Hungary Becomes First 'Partly Free' EU Nation in Democracy Gauge". 5 February 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  101. ^ "Macedonia Vows to Resume EU Path Now That 'Strongman' Is Out". Bloomberg News. 7 June 2017.
  102. ^
  103. ^ "Macedonia's Gruevski says Hungary has granted asylum". Financial Times. 20 November 2018.
  104. ^ European Commission (20 December 2017). "Rule of Law: European Commission acts to defend judicial independence in Poland". Archived from the original on 21 November 2019. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  105. ^ "Polish judiciary changes are a 'destruction': EU commissioner". Thomson Reuters. 8 February 2020. Archived from the original on 16 October 2020. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  106. ^ Pech, Laurent; Scheppele, Kim Lane; Sadurski, Wojciech; et al. (29 September 2020). "Before It's Too Late Open Letter to the President of the European Commission regarding the Rule of Law Breakdown in Poland". Archived from the original on 16 October 2020. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  107. ^ Hassenstab, Christine (2019). Central and Southeast European Politics Since 1989. p. 553.
  108. ^ "Romanian Court Clears President's Impeachment". Wall Street Journal. 9 July 2012.
  109. ^
  110. ^
  111. ^
  112. ^
  113. ^
  114. ^
  115. ^
  116. ^
  117. ^ "Protesters in Romania denounce plan to decriminalise misconduct offences". The Guardian. 1 February 2017.
  118. ^
  119. ^ "Victor Ponta: The ruling PSD in Romania is becoming like Fidesz". Euractiv. 3 April 2019.
  120. ^
  121. ^
  122. ^
  123. ^ a b "Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro 'no longer democracies': Report". Al Jazeera. 6 May 2020.
  124. ^ Bakke, Elisabeth; Sitter, Nick (2019). "Democratic Backsliding in the European Union". Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics.
  125. ^ Vachudova, Milada (2020). "Ethnopopulism and democratic backsliding in Central Europe". East European Politics. 36 (3).
  126. ^ Bakke, Elisabeth; Sitter, Nick (2020). "The EU's Enfants Terribles : Democratic Backsliding in Central Europe since 2010" (PDF). Perspectives on Politics: 1–16. doi:10.1017/S1537592720001292.
  127. ^ Faktor, Žiga (April 2020). "Backsliding of democracy in Slovenia under right-wing populist Janez Janša" (PDF). EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy.
  128. ^ Knott, Eleanor (2018). "Perpetually "partly free": lessons from post-soviet hybrid regimes on backsliding in Central and Eastern Europe" (PDF). East European Politics. 34 (3): 355–376. doi:10.1080/21599165.2018.1493993. S2CID 158640439.
  129. ^ Eristavi, Maxim (31 July 2017). "Opinion | Forget Saakashvili's political career. Ukrainian democracy is in danger". Washington Post.
  130. ^
  131. ^
  132. ^ "El Salvador president's power play stokes democracy concerns". Reuters. 10 February 2020.
  133. ^ a b V-Dem Institute (PDF) Missing or empty |title= (help)
  134. ^ "Democratic Backsliding in India, the World's Largest Democracy". V-Dem Institute. 24 February 2020.
  135. ^ "India Just Put Democracy at Risk Across South Asia". The Atlantic.
  136. ^
  137. ^ "EIU Democracy Index 2020: India's rank slips 2 places, 'democratic backsliding' blamed for fall". CNBC TV18. 3 February 2021.
  138. ^ "India is now only 'partly free', says global report". BBC. 3 March 2021.
  139. ^ "India has turned into an electoral autocracy, claims Sweden based institute". The Scroll. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  140. ^ a b c d e f Yaniv Roznai (2018). "Israel: A Crisis of Liberal Democracy?". In Mark A. Graber; Sanford Levinson; Mark V. Tushnet (eds.). Constitutional Democracy in Crisis?. Oxford University Press. pp. 355–376. ISBN 978-0-19-088898-5. OCLC 1030444422.
  141. ^ a b c d e f Tamara Cofman Wittes and Yael Mizrahi-Arnaud (March 2019). Is Israel in democratic decline? (PDF) (Report). Brookings Institution.
  142. ^ a b c d e f Zack Beauchamp (10 April 2019). "Israeli democracy is rotting from the inside". Vox.
  143. ^ Zack Beauchamp (27 February 2020). "The war on Israeli democracy". Vox.
  144. ^ a b c d Albert B. Wolf (27 May 2020). "The Dangers of Israel's New Coalition". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
  145. ^ Rüland, Jürgen (2021). "Democratic backsliding, regional governance and foreign policymaking in Southeast Asia: ASEAN, Indonesia and the Philippines". Democratization. 28: 237–257. doi:10.1080/13510347.2020.1803284. S2CID 225373459.
  146. ^ Timberman, David (10 January 2019). "Philippine Politics Under Duterte: A Midterm Assessment". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
  147. ^ a b c Oliker, Olga (31 January 2017). "Putinism, populism and the defence of liberal democracy". Is Putinism a Thing?. 59 (1): 7–24. doi:10.1080/00396338.2017.1282669. S2CID 157503681.
  148. ^ Gerber, Theodore (28 July 2017). "Public opinion on human rights in Putin-era Russia: Continuities, changes, and sources of variation". Journal of Human Rights. 16 (3): 314–331. doi:10.1080/14754835.2016.1258550. PMC 6082807. PMID 30100817.
  149. ^ a b c Russell Bova (2014). "Russia and Europe after the Cold War: cultural convergence or civilizational clash?". In Bertil Nygren (ed.). Russia and Europe: Building Bridges, Digging Trenches. Routledge. pp. 34, 37.
  150. ^ Abdullah, Walid Jumblatt (18 May 2020). ""New normal" no more: democratic backsliding in Singapore after 2015". Democratization. 27 (7): 1123–1141. doi:10.1080/13510347.2020.1764940. ISSN 1351-0347. S2CID 219452769.
  151. ^ Bennhold, Katrin; Gall, Carlotta (26 September 2018). "Turkey's Erdogan Changes His Tune, Seeking Support and Cooperation in Germany". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  152. ^ Yılmaz, Zafer; Turner, Bryan S. (2019). "Turkey's deepening authoritarianism and the fall of electoral democracy". British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. 46 (5): 691–698. doi:10.1080/13530194.2019.1642662. S2CID 199146838.
  153. ^ a b c d e f g h Kemal Kirişci & Amanda Sloat. The Rise and Fall of Liberal Democracy in Turkey: Implications for the West (PDF) (Report). Brookings Institution.
  154. ^ "Turkish democracy 'backsliding,' EU says in membership report". Deutsche Welle. 29 May 2019.
  155. ^ Karaveli, Halil (2018). Why Turkey is Authoritarian: From Atatürk to Erdoğan. Pluto Press. ISBN 978-0-7453-3755-5. JSTOR j.ctv1nth9s.
  156. ^ Cook, Steven A. "Turkish Democracy Can't Die, Because It Never Lived". Foreign Policy.
  157. ^ Mason, Lililana (2018). Uncivil Agreement. University of Chicago Press.
  158. ^ Rosenfeld, Sam (2017). The Polarizers. University of Chicago Press.
  159. ^ Theriault, Sean M. (23 May 2013). The Gingrich Senators: The Roots of Partisan Warfare in Congress. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199307456.
  160. ^ Harris, Douglas B. (2013). "Let's Play Hardball". Politics to the Extreme. Palgrave Macmillan US. pp. 93–115. doi:10.1057/9781137312761_5. ISBN 9781137361424.
  161. ^ Robert Mickey; Steven Levitsky; Lucan Ahmad Way (2017). "Is America Still Safe for Democracy: Why the United States Is in Danger of Backsliding Present at the Destruction". Foreign Affairs. 96 (1).
  162. ^ Robert R. Kaufman; Stephan Haggard (2019). "Democratic Decline in the United States: What Can We Learn from Middle-Income Backsliding?". Perspectives on Politics. 17 (2): 417–432. doi:10.1017/S1537592718003377.
  163. ^ a b Robert C. Lieberman; Suzanne Mettler; Thomas B. Pepinsky; Kenneth M. Roberts; Richard Valelly (June 2019). "The Trump Presidency and American Democracy: A Historical and Comparative Analysis". Perspectives on Politics. 17 (2): 470–79. doi:10.1017/S1537592718003286.
  164. ^ a b Alexander Cooley; Daniel Nexon (2020). Exit from Hegemony: The Unraveling of the American Global Order. Oxford University Press. pp. 170–71.
  165. ^ Pippa Norris, It Happened in America: Democratic Backsliding Shouldn't Have Come as a Surprise, Foreign Affairs (7 January 2021).
  166. ^ Graham, Matthew H.; Svolik, Milan W. (2020). "Democracy in America? Partisanship, Polarization, and the Robustness of Support for Democracy in the United States". American Political Science Review. 114 (2): 392–409. doi:10.1017/S0003055420000052. ISSN 0003-0554. S2CID 219053113.
  167. ^ Levine, Sam (24 March 2021). "US sinks to new low in rankings of world's democracies". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  168. ^ Hawkins, Kirk (2016). "Chavismo, Liberal Democracy, and Radical Democracy". Annual Review of Political Science. 19: 311–329. doi:10.1146/annurev-polisci-072314-113326. SSRN 2779566.
  169. ^ a b c d Margolis, J. (2019). "Venezuela was once the richest, most stable, democracy in Latin America. What happened?". The World from PRX. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  170. ^ a b c d e Corrales, Javier (1999). Venezuela in the 1980s, the 1990s and beyond. ReVista. pp. 26–29.
  171. ^ a b Corrales, Javier; Penfold-Becerra, Michael. (2007). "Venezuela: Crowding Out the Opposition". Journal of Democracy. 18 (2): 99–113. doi:10.1353/jod.2007.0020. ISSN 1086-3214. S2CID 153648265.
  172. ^ a b c d e Corrales, J. (2011). "Latin-America: A Setback for Chávez". Journal of Democracy. 22: 37–51 – via Project MUSE.
  173. ^ Corrales, Javier (2015). "Autocratic Legalism in Venezuela". Journal of Democracy. 26 (2): 37–51. doi:10.1353/jod.2015.0031. ISSN 1086-3214. S2CID 153641967.
  174. ^ de la Torre, Carlos (10 April 2017). "Hugo Chávez and the diffusion of Bolivarianism". Democratization. 24 (7): 1271–1288. doi:10.1080/13510347.2017.1307825. ISSN 1351-0347.
  175. ^ a b c Geddes, Barbara; Wright, Joseph; Frantz, Erica (2014). "Autocratic Breakdown and Regime Transitions: A New Data Set". Perspectives on Politics. 12 (2): 313–331. doi:10.1017/s1537592714000851. ISSN 1537-5927.
  176. ^ a b David Landau. "Constitution-Making and Authoritarianism in Venezuela: The First Time as Tragedy, the Second as Farce". In Mark A. Graber; Sanford Levinson; Mark V. Tushnet (eds.). Constitutional Democracy in Crisis?. Oxford University Press. pp. 164–167, 501. ISBN 978-0-19-088898-5. OCLC 1030444422.
  177. ^ Kim Lane Scheppele. "The Party's Over". In Mark A. Graber; Sanford Levinson; Mark V. Tushnet (eds.). Constitutional Democracy in Crisis?. Oxford University Press. pp. 164–167, 501. ISBN 978-0-19-088898-5. OCLC 1030444422.
  178. ^ a b "Freedom in the World 2020: Venezuela". Freedom House. 2020.
  179. ^ a b "EIU Democracy Index 2019 - World Democracy Report". Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  180. ^ a b c Human Rights Trends of the 2010s: Venezuela's Decline (Report). Washington Office on Latin America. 21 December 2019.
  181. ^ Douglas M. Gibler; Kirk A. Randazzo (2011). "Testing the Effects of Independent Judiciaries on the Likelihood of Democratic Backsliding". American Journal of Political Science. 55 (3): 696–709. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5907.2010.00504.x. JSTOR 23024945.

Further reading

External links[edit]