Spains Transition to Democracy

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The Third Wave of Democratization - The Spanish Paradigm

History of the Third Wave
History has proven that democratization around the world has occurred in stages. Samuel P. Huntington breaks these stages into three waves, with the final wave being the current wave. The third wave of democratization began in 1975 with Portugal's transition. The vast majority of the countries that democratized during this time were transformed from a one-party system, a military regime or a personal dictatorship. These undemocratic regimes were characterized by "patronage, nepotism, cronyism and corruption," (Huntington 111). These regimes typically also suppressed competition among political divisions and political participation. The countries in the third wave were driven to democratization by external influences, although in many cases specific events or groups from within also drove them to democratize.

Huntington describes the basic forms of transitions during this time in three categories. Most countries during this time frame fall into one of these categories, although these categories overlap for particular nations. Linz has alternate names for these transitions, although they hold the same value (Linz's are in italics). Transformation (reforma) occurs when "those in power in the authoritarian regime take the lead role and play the decisive role in ending that regime and changing it into a democratic system" (Huntington 124). In a replacement (ruptura), "reformers within the regime are weak or nonexistent. The dominant elements are staunchly opposed to regime change. Democratization consequently results from the opposition gaining strength and the government losing strength until the government withers, collapses or is overthrown" (Huntington 142). Finally, in changes known as transplacements (ruptforma), the undemocratic government is "willing to negotiate a change of regime, but it is unwilling to initiate a change of regime" (Huntington 151). These three types...
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