The business of state Capture and the rise of Authoritarianism in Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia

Keil, S. (2018) The business of state Capture and the rise of Authoritarianism in Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Southeastern Europe, 42 (1). pp. 59-82. ISSN 0094-4467.

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This paper will discuss the rise of authoritarian tendencies in the political systems of Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. In all four countries, certain parties and political elites have become entrenched in the political system, and have been able to enhance their grip on power, often beyond, and in some cases through, constitutional frameworks. It will discuss how forms of state capture have enabled political elites to position themselves in a situation in which they not only control the political decisionmaking institutions, but also exercise excessive influence on the economic and social
systems of these systems in transitional states. By extending their networks of patronage, limiting political access for opponents, and holding strong control over media and the judiciary, these elites have been able to develop semi-authoritarian systems, which utilise democratic elections to confirm their long-term dominance, veiling them in a veneer of legitimacy. This rise of electoral authoritarianism – and in turn illiberal democracy – is not only linked to the political actions of certain parties and elites, but also results from the political, social and economic changes that the countries under investigation have faced in recent years. What is more, the so-called
transformative power of EU integration has failed to hinder or deter the rise of these new authoritarian regimes.

The paper will progress in three main steps: In the first part, a theoretical framework will be introduced, by focusing on theories of democratization and authoritarian back-sliding. In the second part, the four countries under investigation will be discussed in more detail, to highlight why there has been an increase in authoritarian practices across these four countries. This section will also discuss how these authoritarian tendencies play out in practice and how they have been undermining the consolidation of liberal democracy.

Finally, in the conclusion it will be discussed what the European Union (EU) and other actors could do in order to support those forces that focus on democratic governance in these countries, and make the accession process truly transformative.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Authoritarianism; democratization; Kosovo; Macedonia; Montenegro; Serbia
Subjects: J Political Science
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN9600 Balkan States
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology
Depositing User: Dr Soeren Keil
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 13:15
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2019 16:46

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00