Why Should Central and Eastern European Societies still be considered as Democracies at Risk? An Analysis of Labour Structure and Preferences for One-Party System
This article asks whether Central and Eastern European societies should be seen as fully consolidated democracies or whether they should still be considered as democracies at risk. Using the concept of embedded democracy developed by Wolfgang Merkel and the members of the project on Defective Democracies, this paper argues that Central and Eastern European societies should be defined as semi-consolidated democracies, since one of the three rings of external embeddedness (the ring concerning the social and economic requisites of democracy) still shows significant deficiencies. The main argument is that due to the presence of shortcomings in the socio-economic environment, the process of democratic stabilization in the region is still far from finished. This is primarily reflected in the attitudes of Eastern European citizens towards non-democratic forms of government. Due to the important democratizing role of welfare institutions, this paper also proposes the inclusion of welfare state efficiency as a key element in the measurement of democratic consolidation.
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