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Recession In Democracy

Recession in democracy Vis-a -Vis Rise of Authoritarian elements
We have often heard the term ‘Recession' in economic aspects. Recession generally means downgrading of certain things. Recession in democracy means deliberate downgrading of democracy. As we all know Democracy is a form of governments which is run by people through their elected representative and having certain basic elements associated with this such as free and fair election, freedom of press, transparency etc. It is one of the problem as to how to define democracy as this form of government keeps on varying its elements in modern world.

Till 1974 only 30% of countries have met the criteria of electoral democracy (46democracies), thereafter throughout 1975 to 2005 there had been remarkable and unexpected durability of the democratic wave expect for the last 15 years where there has been many instances of breakdown in democratic set up because of a decline in functioning and self confidence of the world's established rich democracies and we have seen the rise of authoritarian form of government across the globe. Since 2006, there has been no net expansion in the number of electoral democracies.

Democratic recession (Breakdown)
Since 2005 there has been a mild democratic recession because of certain reasons:

  1. Stability of democracy has been declining in the number of countries
  2. Rise of Authoritarianism for e.g. Hugo Chavez (1999-2013). Venezuela
  3. Established democracies like the USA have been performing poorly in promoting democracy


Some of the major breakdowns of democracy

Year of breakdown country Reason for Breakdown
2000 Russia Violation of rights, executive corruption
2002 Nepal Monarchial coup, political instability
2005 Thailand Military coup
1958-1971. 1977-1988, 1999-2008 Pakistan Military coup
2007 Kenya Electoral fraud
2010 Sri Lanka Executive degradation
2014 Turkey Violation of opposition rights


These breakdowns have been achieved by a military coup, executive degradation and corruption in the democratic setup of a country, and procedures that finally pushes a democratic system into competitive authoritarianism set up.

Lately in last 10-15 years' views of the majority of people have changed too, the majority of people have started voting for the leaders who bring some authoritarian elements in the democratic setup. Countries like China and Russia have been doing this for long. Russia led by Putin and china led by the Communist Party of China have mixed authoritarian elements into their version of democracy. Some scholars, political scientists don't even call these countries a democracy.

Authoritarianism is a form of government characterized by strong central power and limited political freedom, not functionally opposite to democracy.
Some of the elements have set its roots across the globe, Majority of people have started voting for those leaders who bring certain elements of authoritarianism into democratic setup. Fully-fledged authoritarianism form of government cannot survive for long but certain elements of an authoritarian form of government mixed in the democratic set up are the new form of government that is running across the globe.

This form of government has set its root in countries across the globe such as developing countries like India, Brazil, South Africa and even developed countries like the USA, the UK have a government which runs on this fusion form of government. In view of the majority, these governments in their respective countries are working fine.

Let's take the case of a developing country like India, Where in 2014 Majority elected Narendra Modi as their Prime Minister, who has a created a government which brings some of the elements of authoritarian elements in the democratic setup.

The first instance of this happening in India was during the leadership of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who even imposed emergency in the National emergency in the country and the fundamental rights were curtailed, media was censored and opposition leaders were sent to jail for going against the government.

The present Government have not gone to those extreme levels but certain elements of the authoritarian form of government has been mixed in the democratic setup and the majority of the people are liking this set up in which government is taking action against terrorists in Kashmir valley, action against Pakistan sponsored terrorism.

Government has created a strong central power and that is why there have been some instances where there has been a tussle between state and central governments. Some restrictions have been put on all media house, which is a good step because there is a limit of exercising the freedom to bring breaking and sensational news. The view of the majority in this form of government can be seen clearly by the fact that, Narendra Modi got reelected for the second term in the year 2019.
 
Developed democracies like the USA and UK have also seen the shift in view of the majority of the people. Leaders such as Donald Trump and Boris Johnson have been elected by their respective countries shows that the majority of people have started liking the form of government these leaders are running. Donald Trump will be running for his election for the second term this year and Boris Johnson who was made prime minister after Theresa May resigned, In September 2019 supreme court of UK ruled prorogation of parliament unlawful. Afterward, election happened and Boris Johnson led the conservative party to its biggest victory since 1987.

In countries like Brazil, South Africa, the majority have started shifting their votes towards this fusion form of government.

There has been a clear shift in the mindset of voters especially when they see governments of their respective countries controlling some hotshots, they feel this is the right form of government they want to see, they have started disliking certain basic principles of democracy.

This recession in democracy has given time to influx certain elements of authoritarianism in a democratic setup and this recession is not happening in some countries, it has been going on globally, in very corner of the world from developed to developing and underdeveloped countries.
 
This fusion sort of the government may be on the rise for now but in coming 15-20 years, we will be able to see the downfall of it because as stated by Larry diamond in his journal :
Democracy may be receding, somewhat receding in practice, but is still globally ascendant in people's value and aspirations
 
Note: Source of statistics have been taken from a journal written by Larry Diamond, Founder and co-editor of the Journal of democracy.

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