Recent regional developments in human rights and democratisation in South-East Europe during 2019

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Icoski, Marjan
Salihović-Gušić, Aida
Ceku, Mariola
Mušanović, Meris
Ivanović, Marija
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Global Campus of Human Rights
The region of South-East Europe (SEE) continues to be marked by competitive authoritarian regimes. This article employs a dynamic understanding of competitive authoritarianism that places the emphasis on a movement of a regime towards or away from either ends of the imagined consolidated democracy-authoritarian regime spectrum. More precisely, the article highlights strategies used by the parties in power to increase the control in society and thus consolidate political power, while also paying attention to contestations that arise against these negative trends in four countries of the region: Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia. The general findings reveal that the region is experiencing a continued trend of democratic backsliding in 2019. Two main structural reasons behind this seem to be (i) weak democratic institutions; and (ii) autocratic-minded political leaders, who tend to increase their power. As the contributions demonstrated, in 2019 ruling parties (or coalitions) in the region tended to increase control over media, continued to show disregard for the human rights of minorities and vulnerable groups, while also taking advantage of the ill-functioning judiciary unable to prosecute high-level cases of corruption. These negative trends resulted in a rather bleak democratisation impulse in the region, despite the larger scale citizen mobilisations against increased authoritarianism present in several countries. Key words: competitive authoritarianism; political control; protests; democracy; human rights
human rights, democracy, South Eastern Europe, authoritarianism, protest
M Ivanović, M Mušanović, M Ceku, Aida Salihović-Gušić & M Icoski ‘Recent regional developments in human rights and democratisation in South-East Europe during 2019’ (2020) 4 Global Campus Human Rights Journal 517-538