Verso democrazia illiberali e oltre

Towards illiberal democracies and beyond

  • Francesco Raniolo


In the last two decades the debate on the crisis or retreat of democracy has developed. On the basis of Freedom House's data, three have been the trends: the deterioration of the quality of mature democracies; the de-consolidation of the new democracies; and the fact that authoritarian regimes are becoming increasingly authoritarian. Such involutive dynamics have been described with the oxymoron "illiberal democracies", which was made famous in the late 1990s by Fareed Zakaria. It is a hybrid regime in which democratic elements are mixed with authoritarian aspects, where citizens take part in elections, but the guarantee of rights, pluralism and the control of government are reduced or nullified. The article discusses the relationship of this concept with the previous and famous concept of 'totalitarian democracy', introduced by Talmon in the 1950s. Finally, the path that leads to the development of illiberal democracies is retraced: disruptive elections and polarised competition, the personalisation of politics, the growth of government irresponsibility and the compression of right.

Keywords: Illiberal Democracies; Totalitarian Democracy; Disruptive Elections; Social Polarization; Plebiscitarism; Irresponsibility Democracies; Decline of Freedoms and Growth of Inequality.

Oct 16, 2020
How to Cite
RANIOLO, Francesco. Verso democrazia illiberali e oltre. DPCE Online, [S.l.], v. 44, n. 3, oct. 2020. ISSN 2037-6677. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 23 apr. 2024. doi:
Citation Formats
III Sezione Monografica