The Conundrum of Democratisation

By Claire McNear, on 7 May 2014

By Fei Xue

Taking even a glance at the news this spring, one would quickly notice the great amount of public attention devoted to the massive protests and political conflicts taking place in Venezuela and Ukraine. Although both countries nominally have democratically elected leaders, the lack of checks and balances on executive power, the manipulation of elections, and the oppression of dissenting opinions mean that neither country truly embraces democratic principles. As a result, Venezuela and Ukraine are suffering from acute class antagonism and ethnic division, and the angry voices of citizens cannot be expressed through democratic channels, but rather in massive protests and violent resistance. Thus, despite the geographical distance and the historical, ethnic, and cultural disparities, both nations follow a farcical brand of democratic design that, with these recent uprisings, has revealed the flaws of the universal and immediate democracy approach wielded by several major players in global politics.