The main purpose of consolidation of a democracy is to ensure that the new democracy matures in a way that it cannot revert back to dictatorship without an outward shock. A government can only be considered consolidated when it moves away from problems such as concern for overthrow of the government. Unconsolidated democracies, therefore, suffer from official but intermittent elections and clientelism. The process of moving a country to become a polyarchy is consolidation. This is the point in which a country can have free and fair elections and the freedom of citizens to expression and choices on the leaders is when a country can be said to have acquired true democracy.
The main challenge that faces the process of consolidation of a post-communist democracy is ethnicity. A country that is steadily moving away from communism to become a democracy may be impeded by ethnicity since they create national cleavages. There are types of nationalisms that can bring down newly created or restructured states. There is a tendency for the minorities to be non-assimilating and intolerant while the majority groups to be intolerant of cultural diversity and become suspicious of claims by the minority for special rights based on ethnicity. This may cause ethnic rattles and cause even non-ethnic issues to ethicized leading to falling back of the state into communism. This reluctance to affirm minority claims is, therefore, an impediment to democratic consolidation of a post-communist democracy.
Another hindrance to consolidation of a post-communist democracy is the economic growth of the state. The Gross Domestic Product per capita has a direct influence on the democratic survival. The possibility that a newly created democracy survives depends directly on the growth in GDP per capita. The argument is based on the modernization factors such as urbanization, literacy and media. Modernization and industrial development bring more people into the urban areas as well as improve access to education. The societal structure becomes complex and there is need for democratic values and this triggers the consolidation of a post-communist democracy. Income is crucial in determining the stability of a democracy. It is also very rational that the people in a well consolidated democracy are already more wealthier and do not want to endanger their wealth hence will want to guard the very existence of the democracy. Higher GDP per capita levels can by itself lead to a faster process of consolidation of the post-communist democracy.
Poorly developed political institutions may be a hindrance to consolidation of post-communist democracies. Commitment of the governments in power in the decision to be democracies is of great importance in the consolidation of the democracy. Therefore, it is very improbable that communist or nationalist parties that are still in power will cause a consolidation of the democracies and instead may cause recession back to the communism. Consolidation of the post-communist government is, therefore, faster if the elites in the government have a pro-democratic reform attitude. The political institutions also help since they support the political order. Inflexible rules of the political institutions are also a major drawback to consolidation of a democracy since the ability to adapt to the rules and adjust or amend them to be able to get functional and suitability and work in the country’s context is a sign of maturing in the democratic process. Democratic consolidation requires that citizens develop an appreciation for the core institutions of a democratic political society such as political parties, legislatures, elections, electoral rules, political leadership, and interparty alliances.
Weak international pressures may be a strong reason for failure in consolidation of a post-communist democracy. For example, the European Union was very crucial in fostering democratic growth for countries such as Central and Eastern Europe from communism. When trade unions identify a state as a potential member, it puts pressure on the state become a democracy and implement democratic processes. With such, it is highly unlikely for a country to suffer from reversal communism and improves consolidation of the democracy. Democracy consolidation process and the integration into a trade union may, therefore, be are mutually fortifying processes.
Another challenge facing the consolidation of a post-communist democracy is the rapid and unanticipated shift of a political order. The shift from a communism to democracy may be sudden and hence the political elites may be unable to anticipate and hence effect the dramatic changes leading to a downfall or slowdown of the democratic processes.
The belief in the determinative importance of electoral process is another important backlash in democratic process. It has been assumed that in consolidating democracies, elections will be a foundation stone and a key generator over time for democratic reforms. However, it may not be the case. Too much emphasis given to elections may restrict democracy’s qualities and provide legitimacy for anti-democratic regimes. For, example, in an extreme case in Poland 1991 general elections, the total votes were divided among 30 political parties, none of which won more than 12% votes in the country. Such may lead to coalition governments which are unstable for transitional states. Moreover, elections do not guarantee a shrinking of the wide gulf between political elites and citizens. The above may be condensed and done with by the abolishment of the three part process of transition into democracy from communisms since this is a different time and era with different political processes.
In conclusion, moving away from the communist to a democracy may be hard as the post-communism may be an unfriendly environment in which to consolidate a democracy due to the supervening challenges. The same include the tasking nature of creating a democratic regime, the consequential reformation of the market from state intensive economies to free marketing and participation, the tragedy of instituting a legal system complete with its penal sanctions, and lastly, the institutionalization of a complimentary and competing civil society for purposes of development of the nation state . However, despite these challenges, some of the former communist countries have been able to maneuver and become democracies.
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