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Democratic Transitions

Conversations with World Leaders

edited by Sergio Bitar and Abraham F. Lowenthal

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Thirteen former presidents and prime ministers discuss how they helped their countries end authoritarian rule and achieve democracy.

National leaders who played key roles in transitions to democratic governance reveal how these were accomplished in Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland, South Africa, and Spain. Commissioned by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), these interviews shed fascinating light on how repressive regimes were ended and democracy took hold.

In probing conversations with Fernando Henrique…

Thirteen former presidents and prime ministers discuss how they helped their countries end authoritarian rule and achieve democracy.

National leaders who played key roles in transitions to democratic governance reveal how these were accomplished in Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, Poland, South Africa, and Spain. Commissioned by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), these interviews shed fascinating light on how repressive regimes were ended and democracy took hold.

In probing conversations with Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Patricio Aylwin, Ricardo Lagos, John Kufuor, Jerry Rawlings, B. J. Habibie, Ernesto Zedillo, Fidel V. Ramos, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, F. W. de Klerk, Thabo Mbeki, and Felipe González, editors Sergio Bitar and Abraham F. Lowenthal focused on each leader’s principal challenges and goals as well as their strategies to end authoritarian rule and construct democratic governance. Context-setting introductions by country experts highlight each nation’s unique experience as well as recurrent challenges all transitions faced. A chapter by Georgina Waylen analyzes the role of women leaders, often underestimated. A foreword by Tunisia’s former president, Mohamed Moncef Marzouki, underlines the book’s relevance in North Africa, West Asia, and beyond.

The editors’ conclusion distills lessons about how democratic transitions have been and can be carried out in a changing world, emphasizing the importance of political leadership. This unique book should be valuable for political leaders, civil society activists, journalists, scholars, and all who want to support democratic transitions.

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Democratic Transitions

edited by Sergio Bitar and Abraham F. Lowenthal

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Reviews

Reviews

... In evoking all of these collective distilled experiences from some of the world most successful politicians from recent decades, Bitar and Lowenthal also convey their passion for democracy forcefully, and they enable the college freshman and the scholar to understand better the events and processes that have shaped the world for the better in which we live.

What makes countries become successful democracies? There is much theoretical literature on the topic, but this book is different and special. It answers the question through interviews with the key players in some of the most important transitions to democracy in recent decades. The result is a fascinating empirical exploration of a vital issue, rich with detail and insights.

Democratic Transitions accomplishes a remarkable feat, providing a readable and engaging history of the Third Wave of democratization for general readers and students, while filling in countless important details that specialists will appreciate. The lessons the editors draw from the unique individuals they interviewed provide critical guidelines for future political leaders and for those who want to help build democracies.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6.125
x
9.25
Pages
488
ISBN
9781421417608
Illustration Description
13 halftones, 1 line drawing
Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface

Introduction
Chapter 1.Brazil
Chapter 2. Chile
Chapter 3. Ghana
Chapter 4. Indonesia
Chapter 5. Mexico
Chapter 6. The Philippines
Chapter 7. Poland
Chapter 8. South Africa
Chapter 9. Spain
Chap

Foreword
Preface

Introduction
Chapter 1.Brazil
Chapter 2. Chile
Chapter 3. Ghana
Chapter 4. Indonesia
Chapter 5. Mexico
Chapter 6. The Philippines
Chapter 7. Poland
Chapter 8. South Africa
Chapter 9. Spain
Chapter 10. Women Activists in Democratic Transitions
Chapter 11. From Authoritarian Rule toward Democratic Governance
Acknowledgments
About the Editors and Contributors
Selected Bibliography
Index

Author Bios
Featured Contributor

Sergio Bitar

Sergio Bitar, president of Chile’s Foundation for Democracy, is a political leader and public intellectual.
Featured Contributor

Abraham F. Lowenthal

Abraham F. Lowenthal is professor emeritus of the University of Southern California, president emeritus of the Pacific Council on International Policy, a nonresident senior fellow of the Brookings Institution, and an adjunct professor at Brown University. He was founding director of both the Inter-American Dialogue and the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Latin American Program.
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