Introduction to Poland and Brazil Comparison Essay
Democratization refers to the process of expanding democracy within a country or state and to some extent across the globe. Democratization might be readily understood as a process that involves the expansion of a combined set of political ideals which possess unique intellectual vintages and also that which gain a public fame during the rise of capitalist modernity (Parry et al. 415). In this way, it can be defined by viewing the models of changes that are used by the individuals who identifies and drives the change process. In most occasions, the process of democratization depends on the strategies applied in the transition because these modalities take part in shaping the post-transitional authority and their politics through their effects on the elite competition, disposition of the main actors to accept or decline the rules of their actions and institutional rules formed during the change period. It is, therefore, important to consider these causal mechanisms through which a mode of transition helps to explain further the emergence and consolidation of the democracy. The style of political transition is not the only issue affecting democratization. However, the political factors and the process of change itself has a greater role in keeping the political relevance in a state.
Brazil and Poland Comparison
The past transition that occurred during the military reign in South America and the communism’s rule that happened in the Eastern Europe presents a perfect case to demonstrate this argument. The choice of Brazil and Poland is relevant in this argument in that it involves a pair that shares the same transition process. Brazil and Poland are a perfect example of reformed states through their undertakings. The repercussion of the transformation between the two states displays paramount similarities irrespective of the distinct differences that exist between the two countries. To illustrate this argument, we analyze Brazil as an example of the South African state and Poland as an east European country to show the similarities in the democratization in the post-communist error.
First, Brazil dealt with the problematic issues that were dating back to the transition. Most scholars point 1974 as the turning point of the Brazil’s regime for transformation. Before 1982, Brazil underwent liberalization rather than the democratization process which leads to the widening of the authoritarian regime them. Therefore, it may be easier to predict the transition from the year 1982 during which the elections held that year confronted the incumbent elites leaving them with a critical need for a choice between adopting the increasingly repressive plans to fight liberalization or to accept the democratization. During campaigns, there was a display of unsure attitude toward democracy and the military rulers who staunchly exerted a significant opposition campaign in the year 1984 for a direct and public presidential election and also to force the opponents to give in to the indirect method of carrying out the nomination. Even though the opposition’s presidential contestant won the election during the year 1985, the military government stuck to power and extended the transition process hence retaining a greater control over the president-elect during that regime.
The Brazilian willingness of the traditional elites who were previously sympathetic to the military authority decided to collaborate with the opposition (Brazilian Democratic Movement) hence diluting its identity in the 1985 Electoral College. Thus, the pressure of the forces offered by the democracy was considerably weakened. Following the disappearance of the antiauthoritarian collaboration, together with the retiring rulers’ ability to influence the change process, affected the Brazilian new constitution. Even though the opposition party won by greater margin during the year 1986 in the constituent assemblies, the former supporters of the military rulers entered into the process thus over presenting the results from the north and the northeast hence biasing electoral laws.
The change process also influenced the Brazilian post-transitional politics. That is the several elites struggled for power. However, no actor resisted the new government. The Brazilian post-transitional political changes were not driven by the opposition of the actors to submit to the constitutional laws (Stokke and Olle 3). Majorly, the electoral laws facilitated the fragmentation of the party organization resulting to about nineteen parties in the deputies during the year 1990. Also, the combination between presidential and the multiparty which are a direct legacy of the type of change has impeded the democracy in Brazil through consolidation.
Similarly, the need change in Poland also came from the outside incumbent elite through a labor-based social group of solidarities which was formed in 1980. The transition did not begin until the year 1989 when the incumbent elites relaxed their restrictive rules and then called for negotiations with the movements (Berglund 67). Contrarily, the aim that was behind the decision to negotiate was to legitimize the communist economic programs during the time of crisis as compared to the democratic transformation that was needed by the solidarity. Nonetheless, the incumbent elites retained a significant control over the change process making the Polish communities to be the first country in the Soviet bloc to secure a political opening (Transitional justice 47). As with Brazil, the Polish transition events began when the incumbent elites allowed a way through which the demands of the ancient regime were granted while keeping a higher control over the change process to force anti-incumbent elites to dialogue.
Just like in Brazil, the transition process in Poland experienced the same problems during the democratic change. That is, while the solidarity won the re-legalization of the trade union in a negotiation table of 1989, the communists refused the opposition’s participation in the elections to as low as 35 percent of the seats in the lower pivotal assembly. The less democratic, Sejm, meaning contractual was thus filled by the individuals from the former regime. Also, the constitution revised demanded that the president to be chosen from the Sejm, and they were supposed to possess a significant and ill-defined independent authority that was craft as a new foothold for any communist party leader.
Strength of Resistance, Leadership Skills and Other
Also, just like in Brazil the oppositions were not foolproof. Therefore, the opposition used the restricted legal openings to offer the incumbent elites a setback. But, the solidarity made a shockingly strong electoral effect during the year 1989 June, due to its sheer strength of resistance, leadership skills and the mass base of Lech Walesa. This electoral outcome proved that the communist strategies had failed. Also, as in Brazil, the Polish transformation occurred in a stepwise manner. The properties included a power-sharing agreement that was reached on a roundtable by the communist’s organizations, the president in fall during 1990 and the stiff elections for the 1991 parliamentary seats that ended the transition (Anderson 34).
As with Brazil, Poland emerged from development with a fully competitive democracy but the powers of the old elites to influence the first roundtable breakthroughs and their continued engagement in the democratization process impeding a cleaning break with the former in various crucial methods. Fumagalli (3), illustrates how communist threat to democratization assisted in undermining the unity found among the antiauthoritarian coalitions in a manner that affected the liberal organizations. When the Democratic leader who had stayed out of power, the prime minister, attacked the legitimacy of the solidarity cabinet Alliance where he had been involved in the negotiations during creation (Stan 47). Undecidedly, the solidarity factions that were in the Sejm, came together with communists to go against Walesa’s wish and therefore, Poland chose a problematic multiparty system for the institution.
In the post-transitional stage, it remains clear that the major players are committed to a system of the elite competition. Also, the protracted efforts of overcoming the limitations of the first bargain incorporated the former elites into the democratic regime (Merkel 57). Just like in Brazil, the main obstacles to democratic consolidation depended on the problematic workings of the democratic organizations. On the other hand, the unrestrictive laws of elections produced a fragmented Sejm, of twenty-nine parties that heralded an extended period of the government through successive minority coalitions of which non-had sufficient time in office to enact the constitution.
Brazil and Poland Democratization Conclusion
In conclusion, Brazil and Poland have a lot of similarities considering the democratization in the post-communist error. It is evident that the elites in both the countries posed great problems through their political processes. Brazil faced with a lot of challenges from the authoritarian regime during its transition process just like Poland where the solidarity also posed a threat to democratization. Also, the two states show similarity in that the change initiators were groups that were outside the ruling regimes. Moreover, the two countries did not find valuable time while in office to enact the constitution just after the process of democratic change. Despite the fact that, many countries within the South American states and the Eastern Europeans states began the process of democratization in the 1990s, there is a lot of disparities as compared to the neighboring countries in these regions. The gaps in these countries need further research to be carried out to determine the reason as to why there exist such vast differences in the political and social life of the citizens.
Anderson, Lisa, ed. Transitions to democracy. Columbia University Press, 2012.
Berglund, Sten, ed. The handbook of political change in Eastern Europe. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013.
Fumagalli, Matteo. “Social contention, authoritarian resilience, and political change.” Democratization, 2016, pp. 1-9.
Mainwaring, Scott. Rethinking party systems in the third wave of democratization: the case of Brazil. Stanford University Press, 1999.
Merkel, Wolfgang. “Plausible theory, unexpected results: the rapid democratic consolidation in Central and Eastern Europe.” Twenty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall: Transitions, state break-up and democratic politics in Central Europe and Germany (2011): 57-76.
Parry, Geraint, et al. “Participation and democracy in Britain.” Political participation and democracy in Britain, pp. 415-433.
Stan, Lavinia, ed. Transitional justice in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union: Reckoning with the communist past. Routledge, 2009.
Stokke, Kristian, and Olle Törnquist. “Transformative Democratic Politics.” Democratization in the Global South, 2013, pp. 3-20.