ABSTRACT

Academic research has made considerable progress in the last decade in terms of understanding how and why democratic systems emerge as a result of democratization. Most authors now agree that there is no single path to democracy. For some countries the passage has been turbulent while for others it has been relatively smooth; some transitions result from elites transferring power to new groups while in others the elites simply change the regime but remain in power (see Mainwaring 1992: 317-26). In most democratization processes a variety of actors are involved, some briefly and peripherally while others play a central role and their presence is sustained throughout. Clearly, of all these actors, the national and sub-national ones (political parties, trade unions, grassroots organizations, business associations, etc.) are most important. In the end, ‘progress toward democratization or the lack of it, is a home-grown phenomena’ (Barkan 1997: 395).