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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 20 th 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 Poland 4 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 1999 6 . 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 20 th 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 1962 9 . 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 7 Посткоммунистические уроки // Политическая наука. 2014. № 3. С. 9-39. 8 Макаренко Б. И., Мельвиль А. Ю. Как и почему «зависают» демократические транзиты? 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. 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 countries 12 . 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 monarch 13 . 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 11 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) 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 one 14 . 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 war 15 . He decided to destroy opposition by violence: some discordant activists were injured or even killed 16 . 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 14 Polity IV index. URL: http://www.systemicpeace.org/polity/ven2.htm

(дата обращения: 03.03.18) 15 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) 7

regime which is closed to totalitarianism because the country gained 3,87 when 2,0 is lowest line 17 . The Constitution of Venezuela 18 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 2017 19 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. http://www.systemicpeace.org/polity/mor2.htm

(дата обращения: 03.03.18) URL: 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. https://venezuelanalysis.com/constitution (дата обращения: 04.03.18) URL: 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. https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Morocco_2011.pdf?lang=en обращения: 04.03.18) URL: (дата 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 https://infographics.economist.com/2018/DemocracyIndex/ Index. 2017. URL: (дата обращения: 03.03.18) THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND. 02. 04. 1997. // Published in Dziennik Ustaw 9 No. 78, item 483. URL:

http://www.sejm.gov.pl/prawo/konst/angielski/kon1.htm

02.03.18) (дата обращения: 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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