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A Comprehensive Comparative Analysis of Poland, Morocco and Venezuela.

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A Comprehensive Comparative Analysis of Poland, Morocco and Venezuela.
Anastasia Shadrova
Higher School of Economics
Ekim Arbatli
Vera Abelinskaite
Problem and its relevance
The problem of this paper is why democratic changes were so different in
countries that are similar at some points. Regime transformation is one of the most
urgent and controversial problem in political science. We can find thoughts and
disputes about what kind of ruling a state is the best one in the works of Plato (e.g.
«The Republic», «Statesman») and Aristotle («Politics», «Nicomachean Ethics»).
Such philosophers also spoke about democracy as one of the worst type of ruling.
The situation began to change in the Middle Ages when church had more power than
temporal sovereigns. With the development of science and rationalism, church as an
institution started to lose its power. A state accumulated authority.
Now political scientists and ordinary citizens understand democracy as an
acceptable ruling but the problem has not change.
An analysis of the existing literature
The problem of democratization began to appear in scientific works in the
middle of 20th century when different countries including former colonies got their
autonomy. There are two explaining paradigms that might be divided in the
following way: the first one is connected with structural factors such as economic
growth (Przeworski et al. 2000), religion (Diamond 2010), political culture (Fish
2009). Another approach is based on the fact that real political decisions matter.
Subjective factors are the key ones (Linz and Stepan 1996). Among them we can
name the «end» of an autocratic regime, changes in elite and opposition, founding
elections etc. It means that there is no consensus among political scientists about
democratization process because every case is unique at some point.
Recent studies are conducted between different counties to analyze past
revolutions or other forms of changes and to predict what may happen further. For
example, I can name Azpuru D. and Hall M. G.’s work which is called
«Democratization in Latin America: insights for the Arab states»1. The authors
claimed that some factors that determined changes in Latin America in 1980 might
1
Azpuru D, Hall M. Democratization in Latin America: insights for the Arab states // International Journal On World
Peace. Vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 47-76.
2
be the same for the situation in the Arab countries. They found out that “…education
levels, public health and fertility rates, plus a past history of democracy are good
predictors”2. They also concluded that countries with lower socioeconomic
indicators have a lower chance of consolidating a democracy successfully. It is
important for this paper because I’m going to discuss about how regimes change and
what causes them.
Russian and soviet publications are not so useful in the study of regime
transformation. Soviet scientists who worked with communist regime were limited
by their country and government. There is a paper called «Демократизация:
концепты, постулаты, гипотезы (Размышления по поводу применимости
транзитологической
парадигмы
при
изучении
посткоммунистических
трансформаций)»3 which was written by T.L.Karl and Ph. Schmitter who are the
Western scientists. This paper is a combination of material about democracy. The
authors insisted that the Eastern regime changes can be also understood by similar
changes in the Central and the South America. The authors admitted that Soviet
Union and Latin America’s cases are not equal but they have some common things.
After the disintegration of the USSR the situation slowly began to change and
political science emerged. We cannot say for sure that now we have big enough
cluster of works but still I can name some of them. The professors from Higher
School of Economics (Melville A. Y., Mironyuk M. G. 2016; Melville A. Y., Stukal
D., Mironyuk M. G. 2014) who study political regimes and how do they change.
Analysis of the countries and their transitions
I’m going to focus my attention on 3 cases of different countries: Poland,
Morocco and Venezuela. My hypothesis is that all these three countries have
common formal institutions but their regime transformation differ greatly. It is worth
noticing that these countries are located in different continents and have different
2
Azpuru D, Hall M. Democratization in Latin America: insights for the Arab states // International Journal On World
Peace. Vol. 34, no. 2. З. 47.
3
Карл Т. Л., Шмиттер Ф. Демократизация: концепты, постулаты, гипотезы (Размышления по поводу
применимости транзитологической парадигмы при изучении посткоммунистических трансформаций) //
Полис. Политические исследования. 2004. № 4. С. 6-27.
3
history and culture too. It means that we cannot say that they have similar formal
institutions because of some objective factors.
Let me start with the case of Poland. After the end of World War II Poland
was influenced by Soviet government. The leading party was the Polish United
Workers' Party whose chairman was Bolesław Bierut - a hard-line Stalinist. He run
his office as a president of Poland from 1947 till 1952. In 1947, the State National
Council adopted the Small Constitution, according to which the legislative
composition was declared a unicameral Sejm. Executive branch of power belonged
to the Council of Ministers which was also appointed by the Sejm. It means that such
regime cannot be called as democratic. The Sejm concentrated the whole power.
After the ruling of several presidents, Poland faced with an economic crisis and, as
a result, with strikes in 1980. Wojciech Jaruzelski - the prime-minister and future
president– was in charge of resolving conflicts with Polishmen about corruption and
authority’s incompetence. Thanks to new politics in USSR (perestroika) Poland got
a chance to develop more autonomous. The head of workers’ activists (Lech Wałęsa)
played an important role because he took part in negotiations which led to
democratic transformation and liberal reforms in 1989. The latest Constitution of
Poland4 was adopted in 1997. It replaced the temporary amendments put into place
in 1992 designed to reverse the effects of the communist dictatorship, establishing
the nation as “…a democratic state ruled by law and implementing the principles of
social justice”5. Freedom House Index conferred Poland as free country in 19996. If
we compare this year with the situation in Venezuela or in Morocco, then we will
see completely different result. For example, Venezuela was considered as partly
free in the same year as Poland and Morocco also got its status as partly free but
only in 2001.
Some of Russian scientists also studied the question of the success of the
democratization in the Western part of post-communist countries. In the article «Как
4
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND. 02. 04. 1997. // Published in Dziennik Ustaw No. 78,
item 483. URL: http://www.sejm.gov.pl/prawo/konst/angielski/kon1.htm (дата обращения: 02.03.18)
5
The Constitution of the Republic of Poland. 02. 04. 1997. // Published in Dziennik Ustaw No. 78, item 483. Article
2. URL: http://www.sejm.gov.pl/prawo/konst/angielski/kon1.htm (дата обращения: 02.03.18)
6
Freedom House Index. URL: https://freedomhouse.org/ (дата обращения: 03.03.18)
4
и почему «зависают» демократические транзиты? Посткоммунистические
уроки»7 the authors claimed: “Со структурной точки зрения к демократизации
были предрасположены (хотя и в разной степени) все центральноевропейские
государства”8. It means that Poland had the best chances to become democratic in
20th century among these three countries. We should not forget that structural factors
are not the primary ones always.
If we look through the international situation during Polish transition was
carried out, then we will admit that only USSR was a threat to democratization.
Thanks to Gorbachev and his policy, Poland got a chance to develop because
European Union is Poland’s neighbor with high level of life, education, medicine
and wages. Nevertheless, I could not find any international intervention in top-down
Polish transition.
Morocco is a former French colony that got its independence in 1956. Now it
is a constitutional monarchy where the King is not only a secular head but also is a
spiritual representative of the state. With the independence of Morocco, the King
returned to absolutist form of ruling. He faced a difficult task to use the inherited
French bureaucratic system in the right way. The heterogeneity of society and the
weakness of the state caused that autocratic form of government. King Hassan II
adopted a constitution in 19629. It assigned the absolute power to the King: “The
King shall appoint the Prime Minister. Upon the Prime Minister's recommendation,
the King shall appoint the other Cabinet members as he may terminate their
services”10. As one can notice, the King was in charge of executive and legislature
branches of power because he also could promulgate a definitively adopted law
within the thirty days. We cannot call that regime democratic. The period 1965-1970
can be characterized by an intensification of repression against democratic forces
because of economic crisis which led to mass strikes. According to Polity IV, the
Макаренко Б. И., Мельвиль А. Ю. Как и почему «зависают» демократические транзиты?
Посткоммунистические уроки // Политическая наука. 2014. № 3. С. 9-39.
8
The same paper. P. 11.
9
The
Constitution
of
Morocco.
13.09.1962.
URL:
http://www.constitutionnet.org/sites/default/files/the_constitution_of_morocco.pdf (дата обращения: 03.03.18)
10
The same paper. Article 24.
7
5
period of 1960 – 1965 was a «transition»11. The graph shows that the regime has
stabilized then.
Throughout the 1980s, the King exercised control over the country through
loyal majority governments. Since 1979 Morocco has faced not only the problem of
decreasing prices and the growth of foreign debt, but also with the population's
protests against the deterioration of living conditions in the country. That period was
crucial for Hassan II. New repressions against young movements and labor activists
started in the next decade. After the strikes and student demonstrations in Fez 31
students were sentenced to many months' imprisonment. There was a referendum in
September 1992 on the new constitution of the country, which only slightly limited
the power of the monarch. King Mohamed VI inherited the throne after his father’s
death in 1999. He was cautious because of increasing influence of Islamic groups
nevertheless Mohamed VI was a hope for democratic changes. I should admit that
there were some attempts (establishment of the Equity and Reconciliation
Commission in 2004, assertion of women’s rights) but now Morocco is put in hybrid
list of countries12.
As in many other countries in the Middle East and North Africa, there are calls
for radical changes in the political system are increasingly heard in Morocco over
the past year. That is why citizens of Morocco voted for some improvements in their
Constitution in 2011. Those changes reduced King’s power: to set the Prime
Minister from the largest party in Parliament; to transfer a number of rights from the
monarch to the PM, including dissolution of parliament; allowing parliament to
grant amnesty, previously a privilege of the monarch13. It preserved the areas of
religion and security, and he retained authority over key cabinet positions.
The situation with Morocco is much more difficult because of its active
foreign policy. The United Nations was a mediator in the conflict between Morocco
Authority trends in Morocco, 1956-2013. Polity IV. URL: http://www.systemicpeace.org/polity/mor2.htm (дата
обращения: 03.03.18)
12
The
Economist
Intelligence
Unit's
Democracy
Index.
2017.
URL:
https://infographics.economist.com/2018/DemocracyIndex/ (дата обращения: 03.03.18)
13
Morocco's
Constitution
of
2011.
02.08.2011.
URL:
https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Morocco_2011.pdf?lang=en (дата обращения: 04.03.18)
11
6
and the Western Sahara in 1991 and it helped to stop war for a while. As we see it
before, international human rights organizations condemned the Moroccan
authorities for systematic violations of human rights. However, it did not influency
the King’s policy.
The case of Venezuela. The history of Venezuela’s latest political changes
began in 1998 when Hugo Chávez became the president of the country. He was a
military leader with left-wing views. I suppose that transition took place when
Nicolás Maduro gained power in 2013.
Let me start with the previous regime. According to Polity IV, it was a
dramatically authoritarian one14. It is worth saying that Freedom House Index had
been regarding Venezuela as partly free since 1999 till 2017. The coming to power
of Chavez led to a sharp polarization of political forces. It became apparent when
«old» elite did not approve his decisions. The problem with democratization in
Venezuela is resource curse (Jeffrey A. Frankel, 2010). It means that immobile
recourses are easy to control with the help of consolidated and then autocratic power.
Hugo Chávez was not an exception; he leaned on the trade relations with OPEC.
That was one the misunderstanding with opposition.
Chavismo reduced Venezuala’s economic to the serious crisis but there were
not specific reasons to transition because Hugo Chávez died in 2013 and Nicolás
Maduro became the president. His regime is autocratic because he made an appeal
to the National Assembly to grant him special powers necessary for him to
effectively combat corruption and economic war15. He decided to destroy opposition
by violence: some discordant activists were injured or even killed16. In 2004 Maduro
implemented the law on Social Responsibility of Radio and Television that gave the
government the right to control media content. The economic situation did not
change: there was deficit of essential goods, inflation and different debts. Now The
Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index regards Venezuela as authoritarian
Polity IV index. URL: http://www.systemicpeace.org/polity/ven2.htm (дата обращения: 03.03.18)
Мадуро потребовал особых полномочий ради спасения социализма. 09.10.2013 // Новостной сайт «Лента»
URL: https://lenta.ru/news/2013/10/09/powers/ (дата обращения: 04.03.18)
16
В Венесуэле прошли митинги оппозиции. 16.04.2013 // Новостной сайт «Лента» URL:
https://lenta.ru/news/2013/04/16/teargas/ (дата обращения: 04.03.18)
14
15
7
regime which is closed to totalitarianism because the country gained 3,87 when 2,0
is lowest line17.
The Constitution of Venezuela18 was adopted in 1999 by referendum. It is the
main law documentary of the country which consists standard parts and articles. It
assigned functions of all branches of power (however, there are 5 of them but not 3
as in classic version, they added electoral and civil separately). The president has 24
functions (article 236) among them: administration of the National Public Treasury,
designation and removing those officials whose appointment is made subject to his
discretion by this Constitution or the applicable law and ordering extraordinary
budget item in addition to the budget. All these functions make the president the man
who controls everything and it contradicts the idea of democracy.
The situation in Venezuela is not isolated from the rest of the world. Many
countries and international organizations respond to Venezuela’s policy. For
example, the European Parliament denounced Maduro’s repressions in 201719 but it
did not shape the state politics much. USA is Venezuela's most important trading
partner, the main buyer of its products. It is not profitable for Venezuela to spoil its
relation with US but Venezuela’s policy sometimes does not match with an
American one.
Conclusion
In conclusion I would like point out that these three countries represent
different regimes’ transformation. We see similar political institutions such as
Constitution but the results distinguish from each other. I guess it is connected with
political background of the country and its relation with other countries.
Transformation can be down-top and top-down. Each of them has its own
advantages and difficulties at the same time. This paper provides information about
how transformation was set up, held and what were the results.
17
The
Economist
Intelligence
Unit's
Democracy
Index.
2017.
URL:
https://infographics.economist.com/2018/DemocracyIndex/ (дата обращения: 03.03.18)
18
Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela with Amendment No. 1. 15.02.2009 // Official Gazette
Extraordinary No. 5,908. URL: https://venezuelanalysis.com/constitution (дата обращения: 04.03.18)
19
Европарламент осудил репрессии в Венесуэле. 27.04.2017 // Информационное агентство «РИА Новости»
URL: https://ria.ru/world/20170427/1493239361.html (дата обращения: 04.03.18)
8
List of references and resources:
Authority
trends
in
Morocco,
1956-2013.
Polity
IV.
URL:
http://www.systemicpeace.org/polity/mor2.htm (дата обращения: 03.03.18)
Azpuru D, Hall M. Democratization in Latin America: insights for the Arab states //
International Journal On World Peace. Vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 47-76.
Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela with Amendment No. 1.
15.02.2009
//
Official
Gazette
Extraordinary
No.
5,908.
URL:
https://venezuelanalysis.com/constitution (дата обращения: 04.03.18)
Diamond L. 2010. Why Are There No Arab Democracies? – Journal of Democracy,
January.
Fish S. 2009. Encountering Culture. In: Z.Barany and R.G.Moser (eds.). Is
Democracy Exportable? Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Freedom House Index. URL: https://freedomhouse.org/
(дата обращения:
03.03.18)
Linz J. and Stepan A. 1996. Problems of Democratic Transitions and Consolidation:
Southern Europe, South America and Post-Communist Europe. Baltimore: Johns
Hopkins University Press.
Morocco's
Constitution
of
2011.
02.08.2011.
URL:
https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Morocco_2011.pdf?lang=en
(дата
обращения: 04.03.18)
Polity IV index. URL: http://www.systemicpeace.org/polity/ven2.htm (дата
обращения: 03.03.18)
Przeworski A., Alvarez M., Cheibub J. and Limongi F. 2000. Democracy and
Development: Political Institutions and Well-Being in the World, 1950-1990.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
The
Economist
Intelligence
Unit's
Democracy
Index.
https://infographics.economist.com/2018/DemocracyIndex/
(дата
2017.
URL:
обращения:
03.03.18)
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND. 02. 04. 1997. //
Published
in
Dziennik
Ustaw
No.
9
78,
item
483.
URL:
(дата
http://www.sejm.gov.pl/prawo/konst/angielski/kon1.htm
обращения:
02.03.18)
The
Constitution
of
Morocco.
13.09.1962.
URL:
http://www.constitutionnet.org/sites/default/files/the_constitution_of_morocco.pdf
(дата обращения: 03.03.18)
В Венесуэле прошли митинги оппозиции. 16.04.2013 // Новостной сайт
«Лента» URL: https://lenta.ru/news/2013/04/16/teargas/
(дата обращения:
04.03.18)
Европарламент осудил репрессии в Венесуэле. 27.04.2017 // Информационное
агентство «РИА Новости» URL: https://ria.ru/world/20170427/1493239361.html
(дата обращения: 04.03.18)
Мадуро потребовал особых полномочий ради спасения социализма.
09.10.2013
//
Новостной
сайт
«Лента»
URL:
https://lenta.ru/news/2013/10/09/powers/ (дата обращения: 04.03.18)
Макаренко Б. И., Мельвиль А. Ю. Как и почему «зависают» демократические
транзиты? Посткоммунистические уроки // Политическая наука. 2014. № 3. С.
9-39.
Карл Т. Л., Шмиттер Ф. Демократизация: концепты, постулаты, гипотезы
(Размышления по поводу применимости транзитологической парадигмы при
изучении посткоммунистических трансформаций) // Полис. Политические
исследования. 2004. № 4. С. 6-27.
10
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