Contemporary literature on deliberative democracy

Contemporary research on deliberative democracy demonstrates a move away from classical democratization mechanisms focused on delegation and voting and toward frameworks that advocate for the participation of voters in the course of deliberation during decision-making processes. When operations are formed by deliberative structures, they achieve credibility. Most philosophers currently tend to be deliberative democrats, considering the fact that there are numerous differences (Caramani, 2017). Regardless of these distinctions, deliberative structure imprints ethical expectations on the individual. Deliberative democracies lead to a reconceptualization of the interests of the citizens, and this means that gaping differences between individuals are limited.

Under this form of democracy, the primary parameter used to create laws is mainly the accuracy of the arguments and not just the numbers. Deliberative democracies focus typically emphasize on the process just as much as the need for achievement of results. An ongoing debate amongst those who champion for deliberative democracies is the inability to arrive at a consensus on the proper approach to combine deliberative as well as democratic dimensions and also the appropriate link between several fundamental concepts (Kahane, 2010).

As opposed to deliberative democrats, liberal systems often view the process of decision making or the general will of the citizens as the aggregate total of individual wills. Under this concept, individual will, preference and interest are established independently before a political process, and the purpose of decision-making processes is to appease conflicting parties (Neblo, 2017). Deliberative democracies often allow individuals to establish personal opinions and this happens during a political dispensation through compromising on rational wiles.

The process of deliberation, therefore, attempts to reinvent participative models of democracy and it strives to encourage dialogue. Through the concept of participative discussion as well as unlimited discourse, it is possible to establish better arguments. However, for this to ensue, there is a need for the establishment of an ideal speech scenario (Neblo, 2017). Despite these favorable features of deliberative democracy, it is possible to establish some arguments against this form of democracy. One, there exists the risks of developing a preference for certain prevailing types of opinions and communications as authoritative (Neblo, 2017). In addition, deliberative individuals tend to hope for the establishment of consensus, something that has proven difficult, complex and diverse over the course of time.

4. What do we mean by electoral or illiberal democracy?

There are emerging democracies in which there is broad acceptance of prevalent democracy and the government of the day by citizens and is commonly combined with the presence, persistence or the introduction of limitations on the freedom of individuals. This type of democracy was not known before the 80s and is often described as having a formal democratic process with various demerits in the context of constitutional rights (Caramani, 2017). Illiberal democracies tend to impose limitations on the arbitrary application of constitutional powers.

Research shows that illiberal democracy is democratic to a certain extent, but shows less liberal attributes when compared to other forms of democracy such as representative democracies. Illiberal democracies are usually majoritarian and are made up of majorities who empower individuals to become embodiments of interests of a country for a given number of years (Caramani, 2017). Once the electoral process is over, the electorate becomes a passive audience. These types of democracies exhibit a significant amount of endurance as shown by the democracies of the Latin America. A similar pattern exists in Russia and researcher have established that this democracy is slowly taking root in the national institutions in this country. Consequently, power is under the management of the leading party and is not controlled by an organization that has clinched elections.

The governing body, made up of a group of individuals who control power, creates an electoral institution which assists them to hold onto power (Caramani, 2017). In essence, power is channeled downwards, from the executive to the typical person, instead of from the citizen to the executive branch. The flow of authority is not hindered by any form of constitutional obstacles, and this is enhanced by the availability of state resources. Based on studies in the 1990s, illiberal democracies are a kind of development industry, and it is possible to argue that few illiberal structures have evolved to become liberal democracies (Caramani, 2017). Actually, existing progressive structures are slowly shifting towards illiberalism.

Currently, many government structures are experiencing a split between these two types of structure both theoretically and in reality. Now, upcoming institutions are democratizing in the context of elections and have neglected the establishment of liberties and constitutional rights (Caramani, 2017). There exists a connection between democracy and its associated conditions and overall development of political structures.

6. Why do authoritarian regimes choose to organize elections?

Elections under authoritarian regimes are commonly understood to be monolithic, uncommon and discordant with proper dictatorship. However, an evaluation of elections under this form of leadership casts an entirely different picture. Various scholars tend to view elections under authoritarian regimes as tools for the co-option of elites, members of a party or even an entire group under social structure (Gandhi & Lust-Okar, 2009). For dictatorial regimes, elections serve to spread office spoils in a broader sense to within reach of elite groups. Elites usually perceive the electoral process as fair and efficient means of distribution of political influence or office as well as the related spoils. However, this depends on the attempts made by members of the elite community to persuade or buy voters.

This approach ensures that only powerful elites share a connection with the regime of the day and are not complacent with regards to the establishment of the goals of the government in power (Gandhi & Lust-Okar, 2009). Also, these elections help the incumbents to maintain ties with the elites through discouraging defection of members from the ruling regime. The existing government is able to cajole, intimidate or buy voters to influence their voting decisions in its favor. This is usually a sign of the elite class that any opposition would be futile (Caramani, 2017). As an alternative, elections are likely to effect power sharing arrangements, and this will oblige the ruling regime to endorse rank and file to powerful positions with frequent regularity.

Research also indicates that elections also help to co-opt members of the opposition. Allowing non-regime candidates or parties to take part in the elections helps advance the goals of the ruling class. The opposition is provided with incentives that enable them to benefit from government resources. Undertaking elections and establishing rules that govern the admissibility of parties and candidates allows for the creation of a divided environment of contestation that is made up of outsiders (Caramani, 2017). These outsiders are often not permitted to take part in the election while insiders gain increased access to the echelon of power. Elections have been found to be informative as well; the outcome of most multiparty electoral processes enable the existing regime to map out its support bases as well as the strength of the opposition (Caramani, 2017). With the data, it is possible for the regime to target the areas in which the opposition has strong support, and probably reduce government legalese to those areas once the elections process is complete.

7. Choose one ‘not free’ country from the Freedom House database and explain why it doesn’t qualify as a democracy

It is not possible to find two nations with the same structure of government. However, similarities or difference can be evaluated in the context of economic and political systems. China is the country of choice for this analysis, and it is classified as not free according to the freedom house database (Leduc, 2008). A number of reasons emerge to support this conclusion. For instance, power in China is in the hands of a few individuals, and this has been the case in the past, where Mao Zedong was glorified as the authoritarian ruler.

Elections in this country are held to elect new leaders, but the elections do not signify meaningful involvement of the citizens. Consequently, the Chinese nationals have no say over the approach used by the elite to rule. The leadership does not provide the citizens with freedom of choice. The government in this country does not always respond meaningfully to the demands of the ordinary person (Leduc, 2008). Contact between the administration and the average person through letters, protests, or phone calls is usually ignored. Instead, the authority dictates what the ordinary person should or should not own. The citizens have no choice but to obey and take part in the decision making process.

In this country, freedom of speech, religion, and press is limited. There is little adherence to majority rule and the protection of the rights of the minority. Leaders often arise from a small group of the elite such as dictators, aristocrats, or the military, as is the case in China. It has been argued that this country is not ruled by the law but rather based on the whims of the leaders (Leduc, 2008). The law does not apply in equal measure to the common person and the leaders.

In many instances, the election in this country is not always competitive, although it can be argued that elections on their own do not qualify as a yardstick for measuring the level of democracy. It is not regularly the case that the voters have real choices among a number of contenders from which a choice can be made (Leduc, 2008). The candidate usually arises from a small group of individuals and the backgrounds of the candidates are not rich in diversity. In essence, the president, as well as other legislators, arise from the elite families.


Caramani, D. (2017). Comparative politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gandhi J., & Lust-Okar E. (2009). Elections under authoritarianism. 12. Thousand Oaks, Calif. [u.a.], Sage.

Kahane, D. J. (2010). Deliberative democracy in practice. Vancouver, B.C., UBC Press.

Leduc, L. (2008). Comparing democracies. 2, 2. Thousand Oaks, Calif. [u.a.], Sage.

Neblo, M. A. (2017). Deliberative Democracy between Theory and Practice. [S.L.], Cambridge University Press.

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