The Threat of Selective Democracy. Popular Dissatisfaction and Exclusionary Strategy of Elites in East Central and Southeastern Europe

in Southeastern Europe
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The large dissatisfaction of citizens with post-communist democracy in Central and Eastern Europe favors populist and anti-systemic parties and movements. These parties accuse their rivals of various forms of corruption and prescribe anti-systemic cures, including the discretionary exclusion of their rivals from political life. Analyzing the situations in Poland, Romania, and Hungary more closely, we reveal a risk of the development of “selective democracy,” in which key elites and their supporters redefine the borders of the polity in an exclusionary way, denying various groups of “enemies” legitimate access and representation and thereby undermining basic democratic principles.

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References

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Eurobarometer 61 (2004) shows that satisfaction with democracy in one’s country was the highest among CEE workers (37 percent) and in the 15–24 age group, and lowest among the unemployed (24 percent) and retirees (24 percent). See also Candidate Countries Eurobarometer 2003.4 (2003).

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E.g., “La Hongrie voudrait mettre les Roms dans des camps de travail obligatoire,” RTBF.be Info, July 14th, 2011.

Figures

  • Summary of the argument: Dissatisfaction with democracy and its consequences for democratic quality

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  • Satisfaction with democracy in European comparison (percentage), 2007, post-communist countries in red8

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  • Satisfaction with democracy in Poland, Hungary, and Romania9

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  • Trust in parliaments in Central and Eastern Europe

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