What is an authoritarian government? This is a government with strict rules that limit the freedom of its people to worship, express themselves, or choose their leaders through free and fair elections.
Countries That Have Authoritarian Governments:
- Central African Republic
- DR Congo
- Equatorial Guinea
- North Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
How to Tell Whether or Not a Country is Authoritarian
The line determining where democracy ends and where authoritarianism begins can be blurry. To clear the air, here are five vital tell-tale signs that point to a government being more authoritarian.
-Their elections are not free and fair. In most cases, the electoral process in these countries has loopholes or raises questions. Is the government accountable for the use and allocation of finances? If there are no substantial records showing how the government spends tax money, the country could be authoritarian. -Political participation. In non-authoritarian countries, citizens can express their political opinions without fear of getting in trouble with the leadership. -Freedom of worship. In authoritarian countries, the government dictates the religion their people should follow. -Freedom of speech. Civilians in authoritarian countries can only express their support for the government. Should one talk against the authorities, they risk serious repercussions or even death.
Authoritarian Governments Facts
- Authoritarianism exists as the oldest government type
- Authoritarian governments control the spread of information either by infiltrating mass media, suppressing the spread of information, or controlling different narratives that support their agendas
- Authoritarian governments make laws and policies without seeking the opinion or consent of their people
- Authoritarian governments use military forces, successors from previous regimes, or democratic means to get into power
Types of Authoritarian Governments
There are many types of authoritarian governments. These include military regimes, oligarchic, indirect military regimes, dominant party regimes, monarchies, and personalist regimes.
The three main types of authoritarian governments include:
In countries like Saudi Arabia, hereditary rulers lead the country and have done so for years. This ruler has absolute power and can maintain or create new rules without consulting anyone.
In countries like Burma, the military controls the government. The armed forces are actively involved in the decision-making, law-making, and day-to-day running of the country.
Authoritarian governments in this category use the media and other means to promote specific ideas. Countries like the People’s Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran are ideological-based.
How Authoritarian Governments Get into Power?
Authoritarian governments clinch power through a military coup, a popular uprising, or by the peaceful transfer of power from a non-authoritarian ruler to an authoritarian successor.
The military moves to overthrow the government in power and successfully install their preferred leader.
Large masses of civilians can come together to demonstrate against the sitting leader. They either create chaos or peacefully protest to trigger change. Succession
In several authoritarian countries, the outgoing ruler gets to choose their successor. The exchange of power often takes place peacefully. In an absolute monarch type of government, the succession of power happens when the current ruler dies.
The transfer of power in this category may also occur if the current ruler is sick or too old to rule effectively. Therefore, they choose their offspring or a family member to succeed them.