The rise of illiberal politics and competitive authoritarianism in Southeast Europe

Assistant professor
University of Sarajevo
Start date

Thursday, 28 Mar 2019, 13:00

End date

Thursday, 28 Mar 2019, 14:00

room 4.01
International Institute of Social Studies
Damir Kapidzic

In this lecture Damir Kapidzic analyses illiberal politics and competitive authoritarianism while providing a comparative overview of the rise of illiberal politics in various East European countries. 

Damir Kapidžić in his lecture introduces a theoretical and analytical framework to understanding the concept of illiberal politics and competitive authoritarianism.

The lecture will provide a comparative overview of the rise of illiberal politics in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. Special consideration is given to the role of political parties and their leaders. Their willingness and ability to exploit underlying structural issues, such as political-economic linkages, informal modes of governance and weak checks on executive power, is crucial to understanding democratic backsliding in Southeast Europe.


Democratic backsliding through the use of illiberal politics, understood as deliberate attempts by governing parties to change the rules of democratic competition, is on the rise throughout Europe.

With much of recent academic literature focused on cases where this development is most evident, such as Russia, Turkey, Hungary, Poland, and produced competitive authoritarian regimes, only recently have authors started to look at countries of the Southeast European semi-periphery.

Throughout the past decade all countries in this region, politically termed the Western Balkans, have seen their share of political leaders and parties willing to bend the rules to their advantage. 

About the speaker

Damir Kapidžić is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Politics at the Faculty of Political Science of the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. His research looks at ethnic conflict, political parties and power-sharing.

Kapidžić is particularly interested in formal and informal processes and institutional arrangements through which democratic or authoritarian politics are legitimized. Much of his research looks at countries in Southeast Europe but also includes comparative perspectives from East Africa and Southeast Asia, applying qualitative and mixed methods approaches and teaches (also writes) in Croatian/Bosnian/Serbian, English, and German.