The Decline of Democracy in East-Central Europe
Using democratisation and governance measurements from a variety of regional and international sources, the author examines the status of the democracies that emerged in Eastern and Central Europe in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989.
The author concludes that democracy has generally been in decline in the region, particularly in the last decade. Driving this process has been the deep contradiction of formal democratisation paired with social disintegration.
While Hungary is singled out as a worst-case example, much of the region has struggled with consolidating democracy. Low-capacity governments and political institutions have often led to poor responses to the recent global economic crisis.
Noted trends in the region include:
- Declining trust in political institutions and the political elite
- Increasing polarisation between perceived winners and losers
- The rise of right-wing populist movements across the region
The author suggests that perhaps the only way to reverse these trends is a more people-centred, bottom-up approach.
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