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Democratic Consolidation

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The third democratic wave started in 1974 with a military coup in Portugal had caused spread of the electoral democracies that have never seen before. However, enlargement of the electoral democracies cannot provide robust democracies as predicted. In other words, regular free and fair elections do not provide whole important components of democracy. Liberal democracy is more comprehensive concept which includes freedoms for individuals and groups, pluralism in civil society, accountability, rule of law, and independent, impartial judiciary. Even though, the third wave of democratization has spread to great number of states, it has not consolidated as well. In other words, although democratic governance is the most widespread form of government in the world, it has not been able to be consolidated except in richly industrialized countries. In other countries, “non-consolidated”, and non-institutionalized new democracies had been established in which states democracy were intermitted by military coups. Many third-wave democracies have failed, so that thinkers claim that a reversal of the wave of democratization has begun which led to loss of gains of Third Wave.[1]

From Transition to Consolidation: Is Liberalization Adequate to Concrete Democratization?

Albeit it is often confused with liberalization, democratization is a broader concept, including liberalization, that is required free competitive elections. It might be appropriate to point out two common problems in democratic transition. First, electoralist nontranstion is emerged when free elections are made, previous authoritarian rulers relinquish direct control, however, they sustain their privileges and hinder democratically elected bodies’ sovereignty. Second, the consolidation of democracy becomes more difficult when elites cannot reach consensus on basic values on democracy or institutions. If a narrow definition of democratic consolidation is to be made, it might be required to specify three aspects of this definition: behavioral, attitudinal and constitutional. Behaviorally, there is no danger of the democratic regime being destroyed by other political forces; attitudinally, most of the citizens believe that problems will be solved with democratic formulas even when there are economic and political troubles; constitutionally, all actors seek to solve political conflicts within established norms because of the fact that violations of these norms are both ineffective and costly.[2] Democratic consolidation is the process by which democratic rules, institutions and constraints are constructed at visible levels and the application and search of political power is put under the single legal framework.[3] Accordingly, with the existence of a functioning state, at least five conditions must be met for democratic consolidation to take place: civil society, political society, rule of law, state bureaucracy, and economic society.[4]

Civil Society

Civil society is an area which self-organized groups and individuals bring forth with establishing associations, constructing solidarities and values so as to advanced their interests. Besides organized groups and individuals, there are also magnificent latent potency of ordinary citizens when it comes to creating unorganized mass movements. These mass movements might replace authoritarian regimes and pave the way to democratic one such as seen East Germany and Czechoslovakia.[5] According to Diamond, role of the civil society in Third Wave democracies have been neglected. During transition periods, they had play a significant role in East Central Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, South Korea and Taiwan. even though democratic capacity may diminish after transition, civil society may contribute the democratic consolidation in several ways. They might stabilize expectations and social bargaining, create more civic environment, bring together actors, monitor the possible abuses of power.[6]

Civil society also might prevent the consolidation by hindering formation political majority, exacerbating ethnic minorities, reinforcing socioeconomic biases. According to Linda Diamond, civil society can only provide consolidation when some conditions met. They have to behave fully civic manner, respect the rule of law and other social and political actors. To Schmitter, civil society make more contribution under corporatists arrangement than pluralist one.[7]

Political Society

Political society is an area in which legally control of public power and the state apparatus are provided. Political parties, elections, electoral rules, political leadership, interparty alliances and legislatures have been key components of the political society that ensure self-control mechanism to democratic government.[8] Party system of state, in this manner, might be facilitator to flourishing democracy. Since political parties have maintained their significance to determine interests, gather demands and preferences, to represent different perspective, and to direct policy making processes. In this way, institutionalized party systems ensure more overarching, achievable, representative and efficient democracy. Thus, parties and party systems might improve the quality of democracy. Governmental systems are also associated with the realization and consolidation of democracy. At this point, contrary to general belief, not presidentialism, but parliamentary systems are more favorable to democratic stability.[9]

 Linz and Stepan argue that complete consolidation of democracy is required both political and civil society as complimentary components. On the one hand, some argue that these two spheres have been rival areas which renders their relations opposite against each other. On the other hand, as Linz and Stephan emphasize civil society has played a major role in democratic transition, completion, consolidation that made civil society invaluable for democracy. Democratic consolidation requires institutional routinization in order to mediate between the state and civil society, representation of the differences of democrats, and practice of norms and procedures for the overcoming of conflicts.[10] Thus, process of democratic consolidation also covertly implies democratic culture. For Nikiforos Diamondorous, as consolidation advances, socialization of democratic values advances, thus, toleration culture among opposite sides expands into both political society and civil society.[11] 



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