1st Edition

Illiberal Politics in Southeast Europe How Ruling Elites Undermine Democracy

Edited By Damir Kapidžić, Věra Stojarová Copyright 2022
    246 Pages
    by Routledge

    246 Pages
    by Routledge

    The world is increasingly becoming less democratic and this trend has not left Southeast Europe untouched. But instead of democratic breakdown what we are witnessing is a gradual decline and the rise of competitive authoritarian regimes.

    This book aims to give a country-by-country overview of how illiberal politics has led to a decline in democracy and the re-emergence of autocratic governance in Southeast Europe, more specifically in the Western Balkans. It defines illiberal politics as the everyday practices through which ruling parties undermine democratic institutions in order to remain in power. Individual chapters examine recent political developments and identify practices of illiberal politics that target electoral institutions, rule of law, media freedom, judicial independence, and enable political patronage, while several thematic chapters comparatively explore cross-regional patterns.

    This book addresses academics, policymakers, and practitioners with professional interest in Southeast Europe or democratic decline and is both timely and relevant as the European Union attempts to reengage with the countries of the Western Balkans.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Southeast European and Black Sea Studies.

    1. The rise of illiberal politics in Southeast Europe

    Damir Kapidžić

    2. The political economy behind the gradual demise of democratic institutions in Serbia

    Dušan Pavlović

    3. Institutional and symbolic aspects of illiberal politics: the case of North Macedonia (2006-2017)

    Borjan Gjuzelov and Milka Ivanovska Hadijevska

    4. The elephant in the room: illiberal politics in Montenegro

    Olivera Komar

    5. Subnational competitive authoritarianism and power-sharing in Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Damir Kapidžić

    6. Soft competitive authoritarianism and negative stability in Kosovo: statebuilding from UNMIK to EULEX and beyond

    Adem Beha and Arben Hajrullahu

    7. Influencing votes, winning elections: clientelist practices and private funding of electoral campaigns in Albania

    Gentiana Kera and Armanda Hysa

    8. Structural weaknesses and the role of the dominant political party: democratic backsliding in Croatia since EU accession

    Dario Čepo

    9. Media in the Western Balkan: who controls the past controls the future

    Věra Stojarová

    10. Rule of law and democracy in the Western Balkans: addressing the gap between policies and practice

    Marko Kmezić

    11. Big dreams and small steps: comparative perspective on the social movement struggle for democracy in Serbia and North Macedonia

    Gazela Pudar Draško, Irena Fiket and Jelena Vasiljević

    12. Moving towards EU membership and away from liberal democracy

    Věra Stojarová


    Damir Kapidžić is Associate Professor of Comparative Politics at the Faculty of Political Science, University of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. His research looks at ethnic conflict, political parties, power-sharing, and processes through which democratic or authoritarian politics are institutionalized.

    Věra Stojarová works as academic researcher and Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science at the Faculty of Social studies at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. She specializes in security and politics in the Western Balkans.