Does a transition away from authoritarian regime always end in a democratic system?

Though traditional thought may lead us to think that transitioning away from an authoritarian regime will push a country towards democratic process, it appears that this is untrue. In many, if not most Islamic countries that moved against their previous political machines, things are no better, if not worse than previously. Is addition, these countries, such as Syria and Libya, things have moved significantly south in terms of overall stability. In a country like russia, the movement from authoritarian regime has essentially led to another authoritatian regime under Vladimir Putin.

I would argue that this transition is often unsuccessful because of the power struggle that occurs in the immediate wake of the toppling of the authoritarian regime. There are always multiple powerful players and parties, who each believe that their ideas are best for their country, and often refuse to acknowledge the views of others. Another notion that I believe greatly hinders the growth of democracy in a recently toppled authoritarian state is that the state likely has no background in democracy, and has never seen its benefits. Like we have said during class, one of the biggest foundations of having a democratic system is having a history of democracy. With this in mind, I think that the shift away from an authoritarian government will almost always NOT result in a democratic system. All in all, things are too hectic after a radical regime change, and what I find to be the most likely scenario is that the state will stick with something relatively similar to what they previously had, because it is all they know.




One thought on “Does a transition away from authoritarian regime always end in a democratic system?

  1. I agree with you that it is extremely difficult for countries to make rash governmental changes.

    Mexico is an interesting case. Mexico has constantly struggled with rules of law and power divisions and because of this, historically, has had a lot of qualities of a totalitarian government. Despite this, it has been described as a democracy ever since 2000, with the founding of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Under the PRI, the Mexican government holds presidential elections, which some consider one of the strongest signs of a democracy.
    Despite the developments with democracy and the PRI, Mexico still struggles with authoritarian tendencies, as the country is still primarily run by a single party.

    This supports your point that despite efforts to pursue democracy, it is generally difficult for an historically authoritarian government to adopt/transition to a strong democratic system.

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