Pols241 Week 7 reading notes part 1 Ch. 14 (Toward Consolidated Democracies)
3 minimal conditions for a democracy to be consolidated
o 1) there must be the existence of a state
Otherwise, free and fair authoritative elections cannot be held, winners cannot
exercise the monopoly f legitimate force, and citizens cannot effectively have
their rights protected by a rule of law.
o 2) A democratic transition must have been completed
Must meet the seven basic institutional requirements for elections in a
o 3) the rulers must govern democratically
Therefore if freely elected executives infringe the constitution, violate the rights
of individuals and minorities ect their regimes are not democracies.
Only democracies can become consolidated democracies
o We are not dealing with liberalized nondemocratic regimes, pseudodemocracies or
A consolidated democracy means a political regime in which democracy as a complex system of
institutions, rules, and patterned incentives and disincentives has become, in a phrase, “the only
game in town.”
o Behaviorally: this happens when no significant political group seriously attempts to
overthrow the democratic regime or to promote domestic or international violence in
order to secede from the state.
o Attitudinally: This happens when even in the face of severe political and economic
problems, the majority of the people believe that any further political change must
emerge from within the parameters of democratic procedures.
o Constitutionally: this happens when all the actors in the polity become habituated to the
fact that political conflict within the state will be resolved according to established
norms, and that violations of these norms are likely to be both ineffective and costly.
Within the category of consolidated democracies there is a continuum from low-quality to high
quality democracies. Improving the quality of consolidated democracies Is an urgent political
and intellectual task.
Crafting and conditions
5 other interconnected and mutually reinforcing conditions other than the state
o 1) the conditions must exist for a free and lively civil society
However, at the moment of democratic transition democratic leaders often
argue that civil society, having played its historic role, should be demobilized so
as to allow for the development of normal democratic politics.
This is bad democratic theory as well as bad democratic politics because
a robust civil society can help start transitions, help resist reversals, help push transitions to their completion and help consolidate and deepen
o 2) must have a relatively autonomous political society
Key role is to intermediate between the state and civil society, and create a
They thus, must achieve a workable agreement on the myriad ways in
which democratic power will be crafted and exercised
o 3) all major political actors (especially the government and state apparatus, must be
effectively subjected to a rule of law that protects individual freedoms and associational
A rule of law animated by a spirit of constitutionalism is an indispensible
condition. Constitutionalism entails a relatively strong consensus regarding the
constitution and especially a commitment to self-binding procedures of
governance that can be altered only by exceptional majority.
The need for a Rechtsstaat ( a state of law)
Means that the government and state apparatus would be subject to
the law, that areas of discretionary power would be defined and
increasingly limited, and that citizens could turn to courts to defend
themselves against the state and its officials.
Fundamental in making democratization possible, since without it
citizens would not be able to exercise their political rights with full
freedom and independence.
Particularly crucial for democratic consolidation as it’s the most
important way in which the elected government and the state
administration are subjected to a network of laws, courts,
semiautonomous review and control agencies, and civil-society norms
that the state’s illegal tendencies.
Constitutionalism and the rule of law must determine the offices to be
filled by election, the procedures to elect those officeholders and the
definition of and limits to their power in order for people to be willing to
participate in and accept the outcomes of the democratic game.
Some presidential democracies with populist tendencies, delegative
characteristics, combined with a fixed term of office and a norelection
rule, encourage nonconstitutional or anti-constitutional behavior that
threatens the rule of law, and consolidation.
o 4) must have a state bureaucracy that is usable by the new democratic government
o 5) must be an institutionalized economic society.
These conditions are more likely to be satisfied w