According to Freedom House, 'partly free' societies account for roughly a quarter of the world's population, across around 60 countries.
Such countries pose interesting challenges to researchers: they are not blatantly authoritarian regimes, because they have rather established, competitive elections. Yet their political systems suffer significant democratic deficiencies.
What are the conditions for democratic improvement and consolidation? How do societies with some degree of development and democratic opening create free and open regimes? Which types of historical institutions and state-society relations help foster this? What is the role of international actors? Which forms of international engagement enhance the prospects of democratic progress and consolidation, and which hinder it?
This book tackles those questions. By homing in on two pivotal countries, Mexico and Turkey, Evren Çelik Wiltse analyses the dynamics of democratic progress and consolidation from a comparative historical perspective.
'This wonderful book breaks new ground in cross-cultural comparison. Bridging language, cultural, and geographic boundaries, Çelik Wiltse compares two big, important countries bordering on even bigger economies. Both started modernising under traditional regimes, both had revolutions in the early twentieth century out of which emerged new development-oriented regimes, both pursued import substitution industrialisation, both are now liberalising, democratising, and globalising. Kudos to the author for undertaking this pioneering comparative work.'
Howard J Wiarda, Center for Strategic and International Studies
'This is an important contribution to the literature on hybrid political regimes; those located between authoritarian systems and fully consolidated democracies. The book represents an illuminating account of how different forms of engagement with key external actors have succeeded in advancing the frontiers of democracy far better in Mexico than in Turkey over recent years. One of the book's central – but paradoxical – conclusions is that indirect conditionality through greater economic openness and societal interaction between Mexico and the United States has been more effective in promoting democracy in Mexico than the limited impact of direct EU conditionality in the Turkish context.'
Ziya Öniş, Professor of International Political Economy, Koç University