Founding Coalitions: The Historical Roots of Democratic Quality in Southern Europe, 1968- 2000s

Friday, July 14, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - Room 253 (University of Glasgow)
Tiago Fernandes , Political Studies, New University of Lisbon
What are the sources of the quality of democratic regimes? And how can it be said that a democratic regime is of higher quality than another? This paper aims to contribute to this debate by comparing the long-run historical development of democratic institutions and practices of France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal in three thematic terrains (local government autonomy, fairness of elections, and degree universalism of the welfare-state). It argues that the long-run varying development of quality of democracy depends upon the institutional transformations brought about by regime-founding socio-political coalitions.  Specifically, progressive regime-founding coalitions (France and Portugal), as opposed to liberal (Spain) and conservative (Greece and Italy) ones, will generate higher quality democratic regimes. Competing theories of the origins of coalitions will also be discussed: cross-country cultural diffusion, pathways to democracy and legacies of previous regimes.