Austria is a democratic republic wherein constitutionally, state power is federalized into nine provinces and 357 municipalities which are organized as self-governing bodies. However, in reality, major political parties and their predecessors have dominated Austrian politics. As a result, neither federalism nor local government have been fully developed. This article discusses the political structure of Austria. It focuses on the democracy of the nation which is marked by highly congruent structures and processes at all territorial levels. All the territorial levels are marked by parliamentary system dominated by the national state; consensus policy-making within the elite; elite-centred politics; and underdeveloped participatory democracy. All of this holds true despite changes in globalization and in national state requirements for a new differentiation. At the turn of the century, a new differentiation emerged wherein an agreement-based model of administration shifted towards a conflict- and competition-oriented based model. This shift caused municipalities to move away from the inherited and inflexible corporatism and towards a more open and flexible network structure. Although these new instruments have opened avenues for citizens, the Austrian people have used such instruments only reluctantly. At the same time political elites have also strived to maintain their grip on their dominating role in politics. Despite criticisms on the undemocratic nature and liability of internal blocking, the Proporz governments are still institutionalized in five provinces and the new regional development organizations which have been created to catalyze economic impulses have only coordinating and consultative functions. This suggests time will have to pass before changes will penetrate the deeply imbedded state traditions of Austria.
Ellen Wayenberg, Filip De Rynck, Kristof Steyvers, and Jean‐Benoît Pilet
Under the surface of great unity, Belgium suffered from three cleavages that have divided the small nation. This article discusses the three cleavages that have influenced and affected the political make-up of Belgian. The first two have an indirect effect on subnational democracy as they are an expression of the structural relationship between the state, civil society, and the market. The third cleavage has a more direct bearing on democracy beyond the nation-state. The first cleavage is the rise of liberals opposing rural Catholic domination of society. A logic of subsidiarity was formed which developed a system of pillarization (verzuiling) which segmented society. The second cleavage is economic, as the mass labour force stood against a capitalist regime. With the development of the labour movement and the spread of voting rights, capitalism became more state-regulated. This led to corporatism where private organizations were given privileged status and often monopolized substantial aspects of public goods and service delivery. The last cleavage is the conflicts between two linguistic communities. This conflict affected the nature of the subnational democracy of Belgium. The combined effects of the three cleavages: pillarization, corporatism, and regionalization, made Belgium local governments and local leaders amongst the weakest in Europe. While tendencies of divergence are prevalent in the Belgian context, convergence is still a possibility: the regions integrated Belgian heritage into their political systems. The most crucial is the strong political localism which led to a complex intergovernmental and party-political lobbying and to blurred responsibilities which hollow out local democracy. In general, local democracy has been the victim of such systematic features.
Strom C. Thacker
This article addresses several questions on business-state relations in democratic Mexico. It addresses the contemporary nature of business-state relations in Mexico and appraises the participation of the private sector in democratic policies. It then studies the evolution of the structure and internal makeup of Mexico's business sector and the degree of competitive dynamism of the Mexican private sector and economy as a whole. Finally, the article takes a look at some of the implications of these dynamics for Mexico's democratic consolidation.
This article focuses on the state of Bulgaria. In a geographical area where continents, religions, and influences of power meet, Bulgaria has relied on the traditions of centralism and uniformity to reserve itself as a state. These traditions were first carved by the governing elite of the early Bulgarian state, and later reaffirmed by the nation when under territorial repartitions and foreign invasion. As a result, strong regional identities hardly ever existed in Bulgaria. Communism furthered centralized power and insisted that no minorities could be recognized. Even after communism was abolished, the traditions of constitutionalism and centralization continued. In 1991, a new constitution which conforms to the European standards was adopted. It borrowed democratic experiments elsewhere establishing Bulgaria as a parliamentary republic but with a directly elected president and vice-president. The new constitution was controversial because it was passed by a Great National Assembly dominated by former communists. In conformity to the requirements of EU accession, Bulgaria amended the constitution. This 2007 constitutional amendment led to some decentralization of Bulgaria. It allowed subnational governance, subnational finance, and fiscal decentralization.
David E. Smith
Canada is one of the earliest modern federations in the world. Created in 1867 by an Act of Parliament in Westminster, it was the first parliamentary federation in the world. This article focuses on Canadian federalism. It discusses parliamentary federalism, regionalism, and the provincial government structure of Canada.
James A. McCann
This article studies the changing dimensions of the national elections in Mexico. It starts with a section on the arrival of competitive multiparty elections, where it discusses the dynamics found in well-fought electoral campaigns. It then provides a survey on how Mexicans viewed elections, representation, and their role as political actors. It considers public involvement in nomination politics and the trends of voter participation in national elections, and introduces the concept of voto remoto. Finally, the article identifies changing elements of electoral choices.
This article examines the role the military has played in the modern political life of Mexico. This role is analyzed within the civic-military relations that were secured after the revolution, the national security crisis, and the peculiarities in Mexico's process of democratization. It shows that Mexico has gone through a relevant process of democratization for the past twenty years, which has changed civic-military relations but left the most basic characteristics intact.
This article discusses comparative local governance, and shows how the study of comparative local governance has taken on a ‘new’ institutional slant. It examines how the systems of governance are built via a complex interplay between informal and formal institutional forces. It determines that the key area of investigation in comparative local governance is the study of regimes, which are the ways of organizing power in complex societies in order to ensure outcomes similar to particular interests. The article also explores work on urban regimes as an exemplar of a more ‘new’ institutionalist understanding of comparative local governance.
Andrekos Varnava and Christalla Yakinthou
This article discusses political and democratic development in Cyprus. Compared to the other nations discussed, Cyprus is a complicated case. The complicated nature of the Cyprus case is due to the stunted growth of political modernity and democracy in the nation during the colonial period and the disturbances caused by civil war and invasion. Modern democracy in Cyprus remains weak. The weakness and the slow progress of democracy and political modernity in the country are due to the perpetuation of conflicts and systematic tumours caused by the ongoing state of exception on both sides. While democracy and political modernity in the nation is facing a rough patch, the membership of Cyprus in the European Union brings about hope. Through its membership in the EU, it is hope that the irregularities of governance and democratic deficit in Cyprus will be ironed out. Even then, however, the united federal state of Cyprus must overcome the traditional and entrenched familial and clientelist networks of the nation that hinder the open and pluralistic functioning of the democratic processes.
From 1620 to 1918, the Czech Kingdom was under Austrian rule and later the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. As such, it shared some of the features of the constitutional system of the Austrian and Austro-Hungarian monarchy. During the second half of the nineteenth century, Czech political representation demanded federalization from the monarchy. The failure to fulfil Czech ambitions led to the alienation of Czech society. In 1918, after the First World War, the new Czechoslovakia was established on the ruins of the old monarchy. The country became a parliamentary democracy, and this promulgated a controversial notion of a ‘Czechoslovak nation’ which neglected to consider the ethnic diversity of the population and which caused inter-ethnic tensions. Communist ruling dominated the nation from 1948 to 1989; and in 1989, communist rule collapsed which allowed for reforms. This article discusses the Czech Republic and the reforms that followed after the eradication of communist rule. During the fourteen years after the collapse of the communist regime, democratizing and decentralizing reforms were introduced. These series of reforms introduced a new system of subnational government on the municipal and local levels. The main aims of the reform were fulfilled in 2003, and since then, the new system has been settling down. Problems and challenges have been emerging but none of them necessitated a fundamental revision of the system.
Beibei Tang, Tetsuki Tamura, and Baogang He
Japan and China offer two interesting case studies of Asian “deliberative turn” and represent different potential paths to deliberative democracy in Asia. Japanese public deliberation promises to deepen democracy within a liberal democratic system, while Chinese deliberative processes may have the potential to introduce democratic moments into an authoritarian system. In this chapter we aim to develop an understanding of how two key East Asian contexts, Japan and China, are developing deliberative institutions. We examine their cultural, institutional, and historical features, discuss the driving forces, characteristics, and patterns of deliberative institutions, and investigate the impact of Confucian culture. To apply the systematic approach we also examine the potential for deliberative capacity building, as well as assess the prospects for deliberative democracy in East Asia.
Jaime E. Rodríguez O.
This article aims to provide an understanding of the political culture in nineteenth-century Mexico. It first dismisses misperceptions with regards to the political system of the Spanish monarchy and its supporting political theory and practice. It then examines the Antiguo Régimen and the Porfiriato.
This article discusses the development of journalism and the news media, as well as their roles in governance, policy, and politics. It demonstrates how an ideal-type media system producing journalism that helps improve the opportunity for effective journalism might look. It then assesses the changing structures, functions, and norms of news media and journalism in Mexico across three different political periods. The article also distinguishes between the subfields of journalism and presents a model on how the most politically powerful media in the country have helped form the possibilities for democratic deepening. Suggestions for encouraging pro-public journalism in Mexico are also provided.
Jens Blom‐Hansen and Anne Heeager
The Danish local government balances between self-government and central control. On the one hand, Denmark has a tradition of strong local government and on the other hand, Denmark has a tradition of central government control and interference in local affairs. This article focuses on the uneasy balance between local government and local democracy as an implementing agency in the central government. It discusses the historical background of the current system by tracing the emergence of tension between local and central government during the era of the absolutist royal rule. The article also discusses the present local government system. It discusses the reforms undertaken by the government which led to the large-scale municipal amalgations, the abolition of the counties, and the introduction of a new set of regions. The article concludes with a discussion on the challenges and opportunities of the Danish municipalities and regions as a result of the 2007 reform.
This article focuses on the Party of the Institutional Revolution (PRI). It looks at how the PRI evolved from a vertical and hierarchical structure to one that manages its internal pressures to split through a cooperative and conditional bargain between the National Executive Committee (CEN) and the governors. It then considers changes to gubernatorial candidate selection within the PRI and shows how the political conflict between state and center parties was resolved. The article also provides data on the kinds of party politicians that were recruited and won gubernatorial nominations under hegemony.
David A. Shirk
This article studies the recent national and domestic security challenges of Mexico and the way the country's state security functions have changed over time. It discusses the shifting security regimes of Mexico, and notes that the country is currently experiencing ongoing processes of economic and political transformations that weaken the security apparatus of the state. It shows that these transformations also allow illegitimate and nonstate actors to defy and disobey the state.
This article tries to assess the present state of the scholarly literature on the interactions between drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs) and the emerging Mexican democracy. It shows that scholars focus mostly on the violence that is related to drug trafficking. The article starts with a description of the broader context of drug trafficking and DTOs and a review of some related concepts. It then outlines the points that can lead towards disequilibrium and lists the primary DTOs. The article also studies the DTOs' power capabilities and interactions with the political system, and the effects on Mexican democracy.
William P. Glade
This article provides a glimpse into the narcotic industry in Mexico, which is slowly becoming an unstoppable major export industry. It studies the growth of the narco-industrial complex and how this reflects the continuous inefficiency of law enforcement. It examines the output and input sides of the industry, its distributional system, and the underground international arms trade. It also notes that while the expansion of the narcotics industry has been a “success”, the government—as well as the markets—has failed. The latter part of the article examines Mexico's economic growth and compares it to other Latin American countries.
Georg Sootla and Kersten Kattai
This article focuses on the development of local autonomy in Estonia. Estonia emerged as a result of the collapse of the Russian empire in 1918. The emergence of Estonian democracy was guided by the values of national liberation. After the defeat of Soviet Russia, independence was reasserted through the Tartu Treaty. In 1920, the first constitution of Estonia was drafted and a liberal version of parliamentary republic was established. However, the imbalance of the party system in the parliamentary system of Estonia caused instability in the executive of the Estonian government. In the 1930s, the Great Depression reached Estonia and caused political crisis which eroded the democratic regime. In 1934 Estonia through the Päts regime introduced a new constitution that established an authoritarian and corporatist regime. Estonia lost its independence in 1940 after its annexation to the Soviet Union. However, under Soviet Union rule, Estonia slowly began to gain a strong position in the 1960s onwards when the Soviet central administration began to collapse. And in 1991, Estonia ratified its own constitution after its independence from the Soviet Union. This new constitution departed from the principle of the legal consistency of the Russian empire and with the constitution enforced by the authoritarian regime in 1937. This new constitution allowed democratic elections and established democratic self-government institutions. After twenty years of reforms, the Estonian local and regional government today is still in a state of transition. For this reason, current configurations of local governance as well as intergovernmental relations could change drastically in the future. Although there are serious conceptual and political disagreements about the concrete direction of institutional design, there is a general consent that qualitative changes in local governance are inevitable in Estonia.
There are more Christians in Nigeria than in other African country, a demographic situation that has produced a variety of worship styles and communities. The most socially visible is the collection of protean movements, churches, para-ministries, and organizations that scholars designate as Pentecostal-Charismatic movements. Features of these movements include: emphases on the power of the Holy Spirit to produce a new empowered person mandated to live victoriously; vibrant and emotionally charged worship styles; new desires to dominate; and the appropriation of scriptural texts to produce miracles and material well-being. More importantly, the expansion of the Nigerian Pentecostal-Charismatic formations is also driven by its embeddedness within the global neoliberal logic of profit-seeking, competition, and deregulation of the religious market. These features have enabled many of these churches and organizations to preach prosperity doctrines, exhibit wealth, and also engage in commercial practices that blur the boundary between worship organizations and commercial corporations.