Transition from Authoritarianism to Democracy


Course Name




The kind of leadership that is adopted by any country plays a big role in its economic and social development. A good kind of leadership is one that grants the citizens their rights and liberty, upholds fairness and justice, and includes all its citizens in the legislation process. Authoritarian type of leadership is the exact opposite of this and generally detrimental to the development of a country. An authoritarian leadership endows all power and decision-making to an individual, who also has absolute control over the state. Such states will most likely not register any development. Badly governed governments have a negative influence on global development; therefore, it is empirical to develop effective democratic governance due to its benefits.

Transition from Authoritarianism to Democracy

Transiting from authoritarianism to democracy is an enlightened move, as this will see a participatory leadership, which will boost national development. During a transition in leadership style of a country, many things change in the country, including different structures and procedures, and laws of a country are entitled to a change. Therefore, changing country’s leadership from authoritarianism to democracy will generally require that the government structure and the electoral system of the country be transformed through the implementation of relevant policies to spur change. This is in addition to other numerous changes that must take place (Lijphart 163-164).


 Multi-ethnicity has adverse effects on countries, as it causes socio-cultural differences between the component ethnic groups, and these results in cultural dissimilarity. Consequently, cultural dissimilarity unfolds in differential reactions of leaders and citizens to the government policies since each ethnic group has its own perspectives and worldviews. This also leads to a voting based on ethnic lines. Multi-ethnicity makes it hard for citizens to identify with their nation, as they are likely to identify with their ethnic groupings. This causes voting along ethnic lines, bias in distribution of employment, political offices, and power. Multi-ethnicity also results in violence, battles, and conflicts in a country, thereby threatening the security of country and lowers investment level in a country. If multi-ethnicity is not controlled, it results in many problems as it opposes democracy. The strategies employed in democracy process, should accommodate the need of eliminating negative ethnicity in the country. Multi-ethnicity and democracy are two opposing forces.

The Strategy

The development process of countries depends on the form of governance, including the form of power execution. Good democratic governance is a prerequisite for national development. Democracy increases effectiveness, participation, transparency, accountability, and lawfulness, and therefore must be embraced. The following strategies are important in successful adoption of democracy.

Clear Objectives

A country must set out its clear objectives on what it wants to achieve in democracy. These objectives should be more than the adoption of democracy, and should include what a country wants to do with the democracy. This is because democracies are prone to fall; therefore, adopting democracy only does not guarantee any country that the democracy will be stable. In the world, few leaders can sustain good leadership; therefore, for democracy to last, the leaders should be goal-oriented and be concerned with the interests of the country, rather than personal interests. The leaders chosen must show high level of commitment to the democratic governance. It is also important that a country set up institutional mechanisms to regulate power execution.

Free and Fair Elections

Free and fair elections are the backbone of democracy. The electoral system must be secured by restructuring it to fit in the paradigm of democracy. This should begin with the judiciary, which must be independent, with a clear rule of law. In addition, the parliament should be elected and comprise individuals who will ensure autonomy. These must also be capable of supervising the other government arms to ensure they execute their roles in the best way possible. Electoral laws are crucial in the electioneering process as these determine the parliamentary regime. These laws should therefore, be enacted carefully. Democracy in the electoral system will ensure transparency and participation of all citizens in the electioneering process, which is essential for national development (Linz 127-132).

Political reforms

Political reforms are essential as the ruins of the former authoritarian governance need to be cleared. These reforms will include development in different spheres of the country. The element of multi-party democracy should be established well, as this influences the electoral process. Its effectiveness and accountability must be highly regarded. It is quite impossible to offer a generalized approach to political reforms. Therefore, careful assessment of the previous political structure must be considered, from there, new effective reforms can be identified. There is no shortcut to doing this, developing and establishing a democracy requires patience and time. Therefore, the leaders and citizens must play a collective role in ensuring that democracy is sustained. The leaders and citizens must participate in the controlling of corruption and enhancing accountability. They should collectively strengthen their rule of law and democratic policies. Political parties must be highly democratized and their roots deepened in the country. It is also imperative for the government to support private organizations, which support democracy (Mainwaring 200-206).


            The journey to democracy is tough and requires a lot of sacrifice, time, and patience from the leaders and citizens. This is like an investment in future political security, and therefore calls for actions. These actions are executed with financial spending. Therefore, the government must fund all democratic processes indiscriminately to achieve balanced results. A part of country budget must be set aside to cater for implementation of democracy policies, civic training of people in democracy, among others. The government must be committed to the level of seeking international funding whenever local funding runs short (Lijphart 168-170).


            Democracy is paramount to national development, and therefore is highly recommended. A country will benefit from democracy through the participation of citizens in legislation process. A participatory government ensures the citizen’s rights, and therefore, a happy nation. When citizens are happy and included in governance, they feel they are part of their nation, and will embrace their national identity. Effective democracy is responsive to the needs of its citizens through its transparent public administration, thereby increasing their patriotism levels. In democracy, the legislative and electoral systems are strengthened, therefore enhancing access to justice. Considering all these benefits, only democracy can bring positive change, harmony, and stability in a country (Horowitz 144-148).


Transition from authoritarianism to democracy is a positive step in governance of any country. However, after the transition, a country must be able to sustain the democracy, which is adopted. For successful change in governance and sustenance of democracy, there must be the achievement of rigorous and effective strategies and policies. These must be applied in the different political processes in the country to boost positive and lasting transformation. Clear objectives are essential to ensure the achievement, sustenance, and commitment to democracy. The electoral system is key to all democracies, and so must be strengthened and democratized, through ensuring free and fair elections, which is a component of democracy. Political reforms are necessary to clear the messes caused by authoritarianism, and these are possible through reforms in different areas. The leaders should show a political will and commitment to the goal of democracy by allocating sufficient funds, which will address the various needs of implementing democracy in the country. Sustenance is a collective role of both the leaders and citizens. Therefore, these must play their respective roles. Negative ethnicity should be eliminated, as this is an impediment to democracy. Once the leaders and the citizens are aware of what entails democracy, and what their place is in democracy, then the transitioning will be successful and subsequently result in sustenance of democracy.


Works Cited

Horowitz, Donald. “Comparing Democratic Systems,” in Diamond and Plattner (eds), The

Global Resurgence of Democracy, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1996. 143-149.

Lijphart, Arend. “Constitutional Choices for New Democracies,” in Diamond and Plattner (eds),

The Global Resurgence of Democracy, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1996. 162-174.

Linz, Juan. “The Perils of Presidentialism,” in Diamond and Plattner (eds), The Global

Resurgence of Democracy, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1996. 124-142.

Mainwaring, Scott. “Presidentialism, Multipartism and Democracy,” Comparative Political

Studies, 26.2(1993): 198-228.

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