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Democratic Erosion and Democratic Resilience in Central Europe during COVID-19


What are the effects of populists in power on democracy during a
pandemic? The paper seeks to distinguish the extent to which the COVID-19
pandemic can (not) be traced to democratic erosion and democratic
resilience. Are the changes in the quality of democracy resulting from
political leaders' actions or rather a path-dependent continuation of
previous trends? This contribution focuses on two paths – democratic
erosion and democratic resilience – in the Visegrad Four countries (the
Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia), which are all governed by
populist leaders. It builds on previous literature that focused principally on
the first wave of the pandemic by focusing on institutional guardrails and
accountability (vertical, horizontal, and diagonal) during the 18 months of
the pandemic. It seeks to answer the following question: What conditions
are necessary and sufficient to prevent democratic erosion?


pandemic, democratic resilience, CEE, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia

PDF Forum Contribution

Author Biography

Petra Guasti

Petra Guasti is Associate Professor of Democratic Theory at the Faculty of
Social Sciences, Charles University and a Senior Research Fellow at the
Institute of Sociology, the Czech Academy of Sciences (on leave). Between
2016 and 2021 she served as a senior researcher, an Interim Professor and
an adjunct lecturer at Goethe University Frankfurt. In 2021 she completed
her (cumulative) habilitation thesis Democracy Disrupted at the same
university. Her research focuses on the reconfiguration of the political
landscape and revolves around three themes – representation,
democratization, and populism. Her research appeared in Democratization,
Democratic Theory, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, European Political
Science, East European Politics and Societies and Cultures, Politics and
Governance, and East European Politics. She serves as an expert for the
Bertelsmann Transformation Index, Sustainable Governance Indicators, V-Dem, and the Nation in Transit.