It has long been argued that the end of the 20th century marked the triumph of liberal democracy. The third wave of democracy has increased the number of democracies in the world unprecedentedly and gave hope to many that democratic revolution is underway. However, in the last decade, this democratization process seems to have halted; there has been decline both in the number and quality of democracies. This thesis proposes an agent-based theory of democratic backsliding. More specifically, it is argued that leaders with undemocratic normative preferences and their ability to mobilize previously persecuted segments of society are the driving factors behind the present-day authoritarian resurgence. While the leader's fight with the oppressors of the marginalized group can bring a short-term of democratization, we argue that the unconditional support given by the marginalized group to the leader can allow the leader to undermine democracy by removing the checks on his power. The paper attempts to investigate similarities in the process of democratic derogation in a comparative case study of Venezuela and Turkey. The study shows that the support given to Erdogan and Chavez by the previously persecuted groups in their respective countries, religious/conservatives in Turkey and poor in Venezuela, allowed both leaders to undermine democracy in a subtle and incremental way.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Bayraktar, Fatih, "Why is Democracy in Decline: Democratic Backsliding in Venezuela and Turkey" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6093.
Restricted to the UCF community until August 2021; it will then be open access.