A Critical Note on 'The Rise of Illiberal Democracy'
Title: A Critical Note on 'The Rise of Illiberal Democracy'
Author: MOLLER, Jorgen
Publisher: Routledge Journals, Taylor & Francis Ltd
Citation: Australian Journal of Political Science, 2008, 43, 3, 555-561
Almost a decade ago, Fareed Zakaria published an article claiming that 'illiberal democracies', i.e., countries combining the presence of free and fair elections with the absence of constitutional liberalism, were on the rise in the present; and were beckoning as a new species of democracy in the future. In this research note, I revisit and reassess Zakaria's claim. On the basis of a simple conceptual critique-that it is logically necessary to treat the two components of liberal democracy as different attributes, conceptually independent of each other-I reach an equally simple empirical conclusion: illiberal democracies were not really on the rise in the 1990s and they have decreased rapidly in the 2000s. The latter finding even comes out using Zakaria's own, arguably flawed, conceptualization.
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