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Guided democracy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Guided democracy, also called managed democracy,[1][better source needed] is a formally democratic government that functions as a de facto authoritarian government or, in some cases, as an autocratic government. Such hybrid regimes are legitimized by elections, but do not change the state's policies, motives, and goals.[2][improper synthesis?][additional citation(s) needed] The concept is also related to semi-democracy, also known as anocracy.

In a guided democracy, the government controls elections such that the people can exercise democratic rights without truly changing public policy. While they follow basic democratic principles, there can be major deviations towards authoritarianism. Under managed democracy, the state's continuous use of propaganda techniques prevents the electorate from having a significant impact on policy.[3][improper synthesis?][additional citation(s) needed]

Indonesia under Sukarno[edit]

After World War II, the term was used in Indonesia for the approach to government under the Sukarno administration from 1959 to 1966.[4]

Poland under Sanacja[edit]

The Sanacja regime that governed interwar Poland from 1926 to 1939 is considered an example of guided democracy.[5][6] The regime retained much of the structures and institutions of Polish parliamentary democracy, even though Józef Piłsudski exercised such large influence on the government that he "assumed some of the postures of a dictator".[5][6] The opposition sat in the parliament and local governments, and political parties were allowed to function legally.[6] Polish historian Andrzej Chojnowski [pl] notes that elections under Piłsudski's regime were still organised along the principles of parliamentary democracy,[6] and the Sanacja regime was genuinely popular as the opposition parties were blamed for failing to prevent the Great Depression.[7] While the actions of the opposition were hampered, repressions were rare and only two parties were banned: Camp of Great Poland and National Radical Camp.[6][8]

Russia under Putin[edit]

It has been widely employed by Putin in Russia, where it was introduced into common practice by Kremlin theorists, in particular Gleb Pavlovsky.[9][10][11][12]

Singapore under PAP[edit]

Singapore has been mentioned in the context of guided democracy.[13][additional citation(s) needed] Proponents of this view point to the dominant position in parliament of the People's Action Party (PAP), which they argue limits effective political competition. Additionally, they raise concerns about restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly, which they see as hindering the ability of opposition voices to gain traction.[citation needed] However, supporters of the PAP counter that its sustained electoral success reflects broad public approval for its governance, emphasizing the party's focus on economic development, social stability, and national unity. They further argue that Singapore's specific circumstances, including its diverse ethnic makeup and historical vulnerability, necessitate a strong and stable government, which the PAP's model is said to provide.[citation needed] The debate surrounding Singapore's political system highlights the complexities of defining and evaluating "guided democracy" in the context of individual countries.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

In the video games Helldivers (and Helldivers 2), the playable faction, Super Earth, uses a system of managed democracy as its mode of government. Within the in-game universe, Super Earth ranks its citizens on a letter scale. During Super Earth elections, voting is handled through voting machines which select candidates for voters based on their answers to a questionnaire. The in-universe justification is that when voters have directly participated in voting, they have a tendency to get confused by candidates and therefore not elect the "proper" candidates.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rohmann, Chris (2000) A World of Ideas: The Dictionary of Important Ideas and Thinkers, Ballantine Books ISBN 978-0-345-43706-8
  2. ^ Wolin, Sheldon S. (2008). Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-13566-3. p. 47
  3. ^ Wolin, Sheldon S. (2008). Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-13566-3. p. 60
  4. ^ Lindsey, Tim (2021-08-20). "Soeharto: the giant of modern Indonesia who left a legacy of violence and corruption". The Conversation. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  5. ^ a b Plach, Eva (2006). The Clash of Moral Nations: Cultural Politics in Piłsudski's Poland, 1926–1935 (PDF). pp. 13–14. Retrieved August 24, 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d e Chojnowski, Andrzej (2009). Rządy pomajowe. Retrieved August 24, 2022.
  7. ^ "Kalendarium wydarzeń - Kalendarium - Polska.pl". Wiadomosci.polska.pl. Archived from the original on January 18, 2007. Retrieved 2022-08-24.
  8. ^ Andrzej Friszke, Henryk Samsonowicz (2010). "Józef Piłsudski". KSAP XX LAT (PDF). pp. 349–379. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-10-07. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  9. ^ Weir, Fred (October 1, 2003). "Kremlin lobs another shot at marketplace of ideas". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2009-11-10.
  10. ^ Picheta, Sebastian Shukla, Clare Sebastian, Rob (2024-02-08). "Russian anti-war election candidate barred from running against Putin". CNN. Retrieved 2024-06-07.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Sauer, Pjotr (2023-12-08). "Vladimir Putin to run for Russian president again in March 2024". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  12. ^ "Managed Democracy". The Moscow Times. July 8, 2005.
  13. ^ Shen, Rujun (March 23, 2015). "All roads lead to Singapore: Asians study Lee Kuan Yew's mantra". Reuters.