Reversibility of Illiberalism

The Case of North Macedonia

In: Southeastern Europe
Islam Jusufi Independent Researcher, Skopje, North Macedonia,

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From 2006 to 2016, North Macedonia experienced a period of democratic backsliding and illiberalism. Following the elections of 2016 and the rise of the opposition Social Democrats to power, these tendencies seem to have reversed, and the country seems headed towards a liberal democratic path. The expectation that illiberalism is resilient and difficult to eradicate has been proven wrong. Various sources have been identified in the literature as the drivers of the fall of illiberal regimes around the world. But what is the role of the critical juncture in generating change? The article defines the critical juncture as a path that ended the democratic backsliding and illiberalism in North Macedonia, while also considering the compromises made and thus the reversibility of the processes. The study nuances the debates about the emergence, resilience, and fall of illiberal regimes, and highlights outcomes seen in North Macedonia as a result of the push against illiberalism.

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