Democracies – how they start and how they end (and how often) UNDER CONSTRUCTION see

The table below lists all reasonably large countries???

Countries that are too small exist largely at the pleasure of their far more powerful neighbors and hence, I think, few internal political lessons about formation or fall of governments can be learned from them. In any case, they are omitted. We also omit mention of short-lived aborted democracies such as the French Revolution, the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic of 1917-1918, Azerbaijan Democratic Republic of 1919-1920, etc.

Afghanistan 2004: Democracy set up by US forces which had invaded in 2001. But as of 2007, no longer controls a large fraction of the country.
Albania Peaceful transition to republic in 1991.
Algeria Secular bicameral democracy supposedly formed 1976 after various overthrows and conflict after the French-departure 1954. But actually, conflict and repression continued. Peace only happened starting in 2002. Amnesty program for former rebels.
Angola Weak nascent democracy (perhaps) plans to hold elections 2008. (Would be first since 1992.)
Argentina Constitutional Democracy set up 1853. Multiparty. Ended in 1976 military coup. (Also were 1943 and 1966 military coups.) Democracy restored in 1983 after Argentina defeat in Falklands war. Argentina experienced fiscal crisis 2001 but seems to have survived it.
Armenia Supposedly a unicameral democracy. However, international skepticism about the validity of elections since 1995.
Australia Democracy with advanced voting systems, set up peacefully around 1900.
Austria Republic arose after fall of monarchy in WWI defeat. Ended 1933 when chancellor E.Dollfuss shut down parliament & established autocracy. Democracy & independence began again in 1955 after foreign occupations during WWII; had gradually grown from 1945-1955.
Azerbaijan After fall of USSR unstable period with coups and wars. Presently a pseudo-demcoracy with fraudulent elections and de facto (though not legally forced) 1-partly domination.
Bahamas Peaceful transition to self-governing democracy independent of Britain 1963-1973.
Bahrain Kingdom.
Bangledesh Supposedly a secular unicameral parliamentary democracy; constitution written in 1972 after independence from W.Pakistan achieved in war. Ended 1975 when Prime Minister Mujib took over with 1-party rule. Then numerous bloody coups & assassinations. Democracy restored peacefully 1990 after Western donor pressure on ruling Ershad regime. Ended again in 2006 after emergency law declared, ostensibly necessary due to massive corruption & election fraud. This terminated elections and instituted censorship.
Belarus Pseudo-democracy: Presidential bicameral republic with fraudulent elections.
Belgium After war of independence 1830 became hybrid of monarchy & parliamentary democracy which evolved to become more democratic with time. Multiparty party-list & single-seat hybrid system. Interrupted by invasions in WWI and WWII.
Belize Peaceful transition to self-governing democracy independent of Britain 1964-1981.
Benin After period of coups & ethnic strife following independence, the leader decided to peacefully become democratic, whereupon they wrote 1990 Constitution, successful transition to democracy in 1991.
Bhutan Monarchy.
Bolivia There were numerous coups and military governments but one of them decided to peacefully become democratic.
Botswana Presidential representative democratic republic. 3 independent branches of government. Constitution written 1965 on independence from Britain.
Brazil The seven Brazilian constitutions:
Constitution of 1824
The first Brazilian constitution, enacted by Dom Pedro I. It was monarchic, hereditary and highly centralized, permitting the vote only to property-holders.
Constitution of 1891
The republic was proclaimed in 1889, but a new constitution was not promulgated until 1891. This federalist, democratic constitution was heavily influenced by the U.S. model. However, women and illiterates were not permitted to vote.
Constitution of 1934
When G.Vargas came to power in 1930, he canceled the 1891 constitution and did not permit a new one until 1934. The Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932 forced Vargas to enact a new democratic constitution that permitted women's suffrage. G.Vargas was elected president by the Constitutional Assembly to a four-year term, beginning in 1933.
Constitution of 1937
G.Vargas suppressed a Communist uprising in 1935 and used it as a pretext to establish autocratic rule. He instituted a corporatist constitution nicknamed the polish, written by Francisco Campos.
Constitution of 1946
After military coup ousted dictatorial G.Vargas, an Assembly wrote a democratic constitution.
Constitution of 1967
After the 1964 military coup against J.Goulart, the military dictatorship passed the Institutional Acts, a supraconstitutional law. This strongly undemocratic constitution simply incorporated these Acts.
Constitution of 1988
The progressive redemocratization culminated in the current constitution. Very democratic, it is more expansive than a normal constitution many statutory acts in other countries are written into this constitution, like Social Security and taxes.
Britain Parliamentary democracy...
Bulgaria The Communist Party voluntarily gave up its monopoly on power in 1990, and in June 1990 the first free elections since 1931 took place, won by the moderate wing of the Communist Party, renamed the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). In 1991 the country adopted a new constitution which provided for a relatively weak elected President and for a Prime Minister accountable to the legislature. The government has a lot of corruption.
Burma Democracy ended 1962 in military coup. Military ruled thereafter.
Canada ??
Chile A military coup led by General Luis Altamirano in 1924 set off a period of great political instability that lasted until 1932. Eventualy de facto dictator General Ibanez del Campo peacefully gave up power to a democratically elected successor. A CIA-aided coup ended that democracy in 1973 and gave power to the military under dictator-general Pinochet. It gradually liberalized in the 1980s and in a 1988 plebiscite Pinochet was denied a second 8-year term as president (56% against 44%) and democracy was then restored in the early 1990s.
Czechoslovakia WW I ended with collapse of Austro-Hungarian empire; independent Republic of Czechoslovakia set up 1918. But democracy ended when conquered by Germany 1938. There was a brief abortive democracy 1946-1948 which ended in Communist coup in 1948 and then became dominated by the USSR which put down the "Prague spring" by force in 1968. In 1990 the peaceful "Velvet Revolution" (mass protests, geenral strike, shut down the gov.) restored democracy and a peaceful split occurred in 1993 into several countries, e.g. Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Denmark Constitutional monarchy. Monarch not answerable for his or her actions, and appoints and dismisses the Prime and other Ministers. Legislative authority is vested in the monarch and the Danish parliament conjointly. The judiciary is independent. The constitution does not grant the judiciary power of judicial review of legislation, but the courts have asserted this power with the consent of the other branches of government. Peacefully entered this system in 1849. The Monarch has not exercised any power since dismissing the PM in 1920 ("Easter crisis"). He was then forced by fear of revolution to undo that a few days later, but theoretically retains power. On the other hand the parliament theoretically has "sovereignity" over all the other branches and hence has the power to remove the Monarch's power. [Interrupted by invasion in WWII.]
Ecuador Democracy ended 1947 in military coup?? Democracy ended 1963 in military coup?? Democracy ended 1972 in military coup??
Egypt No presidential election 1951-2005. The 2005 election was rigged. Ostensibly a parliament+president democratic setup.
France French Revolution (1789-1799) tried to birth democratic principles but ultimately became a very bloody failure which merely installed the Emperor Napoleon who initiated continent-wide war. Following Napoleon's defeat 1815, French monarchy was re-established but with constitutional limitations. The 1848 "July revolution" established "Second Republic," a new try at democracy. It failed again with the rise of a new Napoleon in 1851. Louis Napoleon's reign ended with the 1870 Franco-Prussian war at which point the Third Republic was created. It managed to last for 70 years of mediocre bumbling corruption before falling to the Nazi invasion of 1940. After WW II ended, the Fourth republic was set up, and was repealed by a constitutional rewrite – the Fifth Republic – in 1958. The Fifth Republic featured a strong president with a 7-year term, popularly elected by a 2-round runoff. This was the first clearly successful French democracy.
Germany Parliamentary federal republic set up by conquering Allies after WW II. (Unified subsuming E.Germany 1990.) Earlier experiment with democracy, the Weimer Republic (1919-1933) was set up after the (small) "German Revolution" (more of a sailor's mutiny). It was aparty list system with major lack of individual accountability . It failed to hyperinflation. Hitler, then a powerful Reichstag member and party leader, took over, purged rivals, declared martial law, banned opposition parties.
Greece In 1843 an uprising forced the King to grant a constitution and a representative assembly. Later was dethroned in 1863. Parliament dissolved 1936?? Occupied by the Nazis in the early 1940s. There followed a civil war. Military coup overthrew democracy 1967. Military counter-coup in 1973. A democratic republican constitution was enacted (and monarchy officially abolished) both peacefully by a referendum in 1975.
Guatemala After a coup which killed about 100 people, the military junta set up a democracy with the first election won by exile J.A.Bermejo. In 1954 his elecgted successor Jacobo Arbenz was overthrown by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a small group of Guatemalans (landowners, the old military caste, and the Catholic Church), after the government instituted decree No. 900, which expropriated large tracts of land owned by the United Fruit Company, a U.S.-based banana merchant (Chiquita Banana). The CIA codename for the coup was Operation PBSUCCESS. Repressive military rule using death-squads followed. By Castillo Armas was assassinated by a member of his personal guard in 1957 and a lot of unstable pseudo-democracy fraught with armed conflicts then ensued. In 1996 a peace accord was signed and peaceful democracy ensued.a
Hungary In the late 1980s, Hungary led the movement to dissolve the Warsaw Pact and shift toward multi-candidate democracy. In 1989 the "Third Hungarian Republic" was declared (the previous two were abortions that lasted less than a year) with the first free elections held in 1990. Joined NATO 1999 and European Union 2004.
Iceland Parliamentary. Granted home rule by Denmark in 1874. Occupied by Britain & US without a fight during WW II. Formally became independent republic with Constitution 1944.
India After unrest and Gandhian "non-violence," India gained independence from British rule in 1947, but not before losing its Muslim-majority areas (carved into the now-seperate state of Pakistan). Became Republic – constitutional democracy, the largest in the world – in 1950. Democracy was ended by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1975 after a court ruled she was elected with the aid of fraud; she responded by refusing to step down, jailing thousands of both her political rivals and journalists she disliked, dissolving many state governments, cutting off electricity to opposition media, and terminating democracy in favor of rule by decree. Fortunately (and perhaps unexpectedly) the resulting period of authoritarian rule only lasted 19 months.
Italy Early oligarchic-democratic city-state republics included Florence (ostensibly a democracy but which became dominated behind the scenes by the Medici family), Venice (≈850-1797), Genoa (≈1100-1381) – both of which were somewhat democratic – Pisa, and Amalfi. By banding together, Italy's city-states were able to resist foreign invaders. However eventually Italy fell under foreign domination. A later democracy became dominated 1922-1926 by fascist Benito Mussolini, largely by legal means, but gradually transforming Italy into a dictatorship under him. Opposition parties were banned in 1926. That ended in world war II. The First Republic (1946-1992) then was set up. The Second Republic (1992-) was really the same government but a drastic reorganization and reshuffling of the political parties occurred and major reforms were enacted by referendum.
Japan The emperor reigned supreme, albeit was weak (more of an oligarchy) during 1912-1926. In 1947 after efeat in WW II the invaders forced them to e set up a democracy. One-party rule by the "liberal conservative" Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) ensued in 1955, except for a short-lived opposition coalition in 1993.
Madagascar Peaceful independence from France phased in during 1958-1960 with constitution established in 1959. Democracy has held on (rather shakily at times) since. Constitution revised and ratified by refrerendum 2007.
Mexico Single-party pseudo-democracy under the PRI ruled with the aid of election fraud. It weakened 1970-2000 and reform occurred under Vicente Fox (the first non-PRI president in 71 years) in 2000. It might persist.
Netherlands "Republic" from 1581-1806. The Constitutional Monarchy "United Kingdom of the Netherlands" was formed in 1815 (after recovery from French invasion) consisting of Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. In addition, the king of the Netherlands became hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg. Belgium rebelled and gained independence in 1830, while Luxembourg and Netherlands peacefully divorced in 1890. Became parliamentary peacefully in 1848, gradually got more & more democratic. [Interrupted by invasion in WWII.]
New Zealand Gradually became more autonomous & eventually fully independent of Britain. First nation with women's suffrage 1893. Unicameral parliament. Mixed Member Proportional PR system (like Germany's) enacted by referendum 1993.
Nigeria Gained independence from UK in 1960. The 1965 was perceived as corrupt. That lead to several back-to-back military coups. There followed a long dark period or repressive corrupt dictatorial rule with power changing hands between a lot of dictators and with an occasional faked-election thrown in. In 1999 it looked like a democracy might be getting started but in 2007 there was a highly-corrupt and bogus election.
Norway Constitutional monarchy with democratic parliamentary system of government. In 1814 declared independence from Sweden, enacted constituion. Sweden objected and forced some degree of weakening of that, but in 1905 the two peacefully divorced. They elected Haakon VII king (the Danish Prince Carl, deciding to adopt a new "Norwegian-sounding" cool name). However, the king plays no important role in government. In 1898, men got universal suffrage, followed by all women in 1913. Interupted by Nazi invasion 1940 but soon restored.
Pakistan Military coup 1999. In 2007 general Musharraf declared "state of emergency," had 1000s of lawyers arrested, etc, in further demolition of (what was left of) democracy and attempting to cling to power.
Peru Democracy overthrown 1968 by military coup??
Phillipines Democracy ended 1972 when "state of emergency" declared by Marcos
Poland In 1918 Poland regained independence as Second Polish Republic as part of a deal between the big powers at the end of WW I. It successfully resisted the Russian Red Army 1919-1921. But democracy was overthrown in 1926 by military coup led by the head of the armed forces J.Pilsudski who became dictator. That persisted until invasion by Nazis in 1939. After WW II Poland taken over by USSR. Became peacefully supposedly-democratic in the 1990s with the USSR breakup. Bicameral parliament. Constitution writte 1997. Joined European union 2003.
Portugal Monarchy eliminated by revolution in 1910. Military coup in 1926 ended unstable Portuguese First Republic & led to right-wind dictatorship under A. de Oliveira Salazar. In 1974, a bloodless left-wing military coup in Lisbon, known as the Carnation Revolution, led to modern democracy – secular republic ruled by the constitution of 1976. Unicameral parliament, seperation of legislative, executive, judicial branches. Joined European Union 1986.
Romania In 1947 the Communists claimed 80% of the vote in the (rigged) election (country at that time ruled by the Russian Red Army, this election was a move to create a government after WW II chaos), forced King Michael I to abdicate and Romania entered USSR control. Later gradually became more independent under dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. His police state was overthrown in the bloody Romanian Revolution of 1989. Violence and instability ensued but in 1996 the democratic liberals gained power under and since then it has seemed to be becoming a stable democracy.
Singapore Pseudo-democracy, unicameral parliament plus benevolent dictator.
Spain Democracy overthrown 1923 by military coup?? Democracy overthrown 1936 by military uprising, civil war, led by General Franco who became dictator. Franco ruled until his death in 1975. Then King Juan Carlos temporarily assumed power peacefully and used that power to set up a democracy (constitution of 1978) and to succesfully peacefully defeat a coup-attempt in 1981.
Sweden Democratized peacefully in 1917.
Switzerland "Advanced democracy"
USA Formed 1782 after successful war of independence. Initially slaveholding; that only ended after a bloody civil war 1860-1865. Then blacks still repressed and dienfranchised especially in the "Jim Crow South" approximately 1900-1970. Blacks enfranchised in the 1970s. Women enfranchised 1920 by constituional amendment. Massive Gerrymandering ensued in athe 1980s-1990s and continues.
Uruguay Military takeover 1973
Venezuela Democracy ended 1948 in military coup??

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