What is an authoritarian government? An authoritarian government is one that imposes strict rules that limit the person freedoms of its people. Citizens of countries that have an authoritarian government have diminished rights and priviledges, and are typically unable to freely worship, fully express themselves, or choose their leaders through free and fair elections.
Authoritarian governments can come in many forms, including hereditary dictatorships; military juntas; religious theocracies; and communist, socialist, or fascist regimes. Many authoritarian governments also rank among the most corrupt governments in the world.
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.
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.
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.
Democracy Index 2022
Electorial Process and Pluralism
Functioning of Government
|United Arab Emirates||2.90||2.35||0||4.29||5.63||2.22|
|Republic of the Congo||2.79||3.24||0||2.50||3.75||4.44|
|Central African Republic||1.35||2.35||0.83||0||1.88||1.67|
Worldwide, 20 nations have authoritarian governments. These countries include Iran, North Korea, Laos, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, Uzbekistan, and Libya.