Thematic Programs

Although certain federal democracies are among the world’s most democratic states, most federal countries fall into flawed, hybrid, and authoritarian categories. Federal and multilevel countries additionally face challenges concerning citizen satisfaction with the state of their country’s democracy. Democratic dissatisfaction presents a worrisome challenge for governance, as it risks heightening the appeal of populist leaders, movements, and parties. Arising from this are key questions that the Forum seeks to address: why are so many federations weakly democratic or non-democratic? Are federations prone to be more or less democratic than non-federations? Is federalism as an asset or a liability for democracy in developing federations? What is the extent to which non-democratic federations fulfil functions often attributed to federalism (e.g., ethnic diversity accommodation and conflict resolution)? And what are the key mechanisms for building or re-building viable democratic institutions?

Key Resources