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Unit 1

1.3 Democracy vs. Authoritarianism

2 min readโ€ขjanuary 29, 2021

@kelly-cotton


Regimes are either democratic ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ or authoritarian ๐Ÿ‘‘ One of the first things you need to be able to do is define those terms.
  • Democratic ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธโ€”This regime type involves the selection ๐Ÿ—ณ๏ธ of government officials through free and fair elections โ˜‘๏ธ, a balance between the principle of majority rule and the protection of minority interests, and constitutional ๐Ÿ“œ limitations on government actions.
  • Authoritarianism ๐Ÿ‘‘โ€”A regime type defined by the rule of single 1๏ธโƒฃ leader, a small group of people, or a single political party 1๏ธโƒฃ or institution.

Key Characteristics

You need to understand the characteristics of both democracy ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ and authoritarianism ๐Ÿ‘‘, so I've created charts to help.

๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ Democratic characteristics

  1. Free and fair elections.
  2. Competitive elections.
  3. Government-developed policies and procedures that guarantee due process, accountability, and transparency in decision making.
  4. Political and civil rights are possessed by all.
  5. Independent judiciary.
  6. Elected government officials who exercise authority over the government.
  7. Rule of Law.

๐Ÿ‘‘ Authoritarian characteristics

  1. Limited political participation.
  2. Limited autonomy of society from state control.
  3. Limitations placed upon political opposition.
  4. Little political accountability or transparency.

Types of Authoritarian Regimes

Authoritarian regimes can include illiberal โ›” democracy or hybrid โž• regimes, one 1๏ธโƒฃ-party systems, theocracies ๐Ÿ›, totalitarian governments ๐Ÿ•ต๏ธ, and military ๐ŸŽ–๏ธ regimes. You will need to know the difference between these regimes.
  • Illiberal democracy or hybrid regime is an authoritarian regime in which elections are held, but elected officials often use the electoral process to keep themselves in power. In other words it's an authoritarian regime where elements of "democracy" are present โž•โ›”
  • A one-party system only allows one party to run for government office 1๏ธโƒฃ
  • Theocracies are governments in which religious leaders run the government. There is no separation or church and state ๐Ÿ›
  • Totalitarian governments are regimes that seek to control nearly every aspect of public and private life ๐Ÿ•ต๏ธ
  • Military regimes are authoritarian governments in which a military leader runs the government ๐ŸŽ–๏ธ

So what about our countries of study?

UK ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง = Consolidated ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ
Russia ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ = ๐Ÿ‘‘, Illiberal or hybrid regime
Iran ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ท = ๐Ÿ‘‘, theocracy
Nigeria ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฌ = ๐Ÿ‘‘, military and more recently hybrid
Mexico ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ = ๐Ÿ‘‘, hybrid
China ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ = ๐Ÿ‘‘, one-party system

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