Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-swqlm Total loading time: 0.226 Render date: 2021-12-01T10:58:05.787Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

Institutional Patterns in the New Democracies of Asia: Forms, Origins and Consequences1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 July 2010

Department of Political Science, Ruprecht-Karls University of Heidelberg,
Ruprecht-Karls University, Heidelberg


This article analyzes the institutional patterns of eight young democracies in Asia. The analysis originates from Lijphart's majoritarian-consensus framework. It illustrates that neither Lijphart's two-dimensional democracy pattern, nor an alternative pattern exists in Asia. Instead, the review of possible causes for the lack of conformity between Lijphart's patterns of democracy and the reality of the situation in Asia support the criticism in existing research literature regarding some of Lijphart's main assumptions and major conclusions. Furthermore, Asian realities provide only partial support for Lijphart's advice that the consensus option is the more attractive option for countries that designed their first democratic constitutions.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Acemoglu, Daron and Robinson, James A. (2005), Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ackerman, Bruce (2000), ‘The New Separation of Powers’, The Harvard Law Review, 113 (January): 633729.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ahmed, Nizam (2006), ‘Executive–Judiciary Relations in Bangladesh’, Asian Affairs, 33 (2): 103–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Alesina, Alberto F., Devleeschauwer, Arnaud, Easterly, William, Kurlat, Sergio, and Wacziarg, Romain T. (2002), ‘Fractionalization’, Harvard Institute of Economic Research Discussion Paper 1959.Google Scholar
Alexander, Gerard (2001), ‘Institutions, Path Dependence, and Democratic Consolidation’, Journal of Theoretical Politics, 13 (3): 249–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arnone, Marco, Laurens, Bernard J., Segalotto, Jean-François, and Sommer, Martin (2007), ‘Central Bank Autonomy: Lessons from Global Trends’, IMF Working Paper, WP/07/88.Google Scholar
Bakker, James W. (1997), The Philippine Justice System, Leiden.Google Scholar
Bertelsmann, Stiftung (2005), Bertelsmann Transformation Index 2006, Gütersloh.Google Scholar
Bogaards, Matthijs (2000), ‘The Uneasy Relationship between Empirical and Normative Types in Consociational Theory’, Journal of Theoretical Politics, 12 (1): 395423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cameron, Maxwell A., Blanaru, Ana-Maria, and Burns, Lesley M. (2006), ‘Constitutions and the Rule of Law: Between Delegative Democracy and Elective Dictatorship’, unpublished paper.Google Scholar
Chambers, Paul (2006), ‘Consolidation of Thaksinocracy and Crisis of Democracy: Thailand's 2005 Election’, in Croissant, Aurel and Martin, Beate (eds.), Between Consolidation and Crisis: Elections and Democracy in Five Nations in Southeast Asia, Münster: Lit Verlag, pp. 277329.Google Scholar
Chambers, Paul (2008), ‘Factions, Parties and the Durability of Parliaments, Coalitions and Cabinets: The Case of Thailand (1979–2001)’, Party Politics, 14 (3): 299323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chu, Yun-han and Lin, Jih-wen (1999), ‘Political Development in 20th-Century Taiwan: State Building, Regime Transformation and the Construction of National Identity’, The China Quarterly, 165 (March): 102–30.Google Scholar
Colomer, Joseph (1995), ‘Strategies and Outcomes in Eastern Europe’, Journal of Democracy, 6 (2): 7486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Constitutional Court of Korea (2009), ‘Case Statistics of the Constitutional Court of Korea’, [download 10.01.2009].Google Scholar
Croissant, Aurel (2003), ‘Legislative Powers, Veto Players and the Emergence of Delegative Democracy: A Comparison of Presidentialism in the Philippines and Korea’, Democratization, 10 (3): 6899.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Croissant, Aurel (2006), ‘Conclusion: Electoral Politics in Southeast Asia’, in Croissant, Aurel and Martin, Beate (eds.), Between Consolidation and Crisis: Elections and Democracy in Five Nations in Southeast Asia, Muenster: LIT Verlag, pp. 329–84.Google Scholar
Croissant, Aurel (2008), ‘Die Parteiensysteme neuer Demokratien in Ostasien: Merkmale, Typen und Institutionalisierungsgrad’, ZfVP (Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft), 2 (1): 98125.Google Scholar
Croissant, Aurel (2009), ‘Against all Odds? Constitutional Review in “Illiberal Democracies”: An Analysis of Five East Asian Cases’, Paper presented at the 5th ECPR General Conference Potsdam University from 10–12 September 2009, Scholar
Croissant, Aurel and Schächter, Teresa (2008), ‘Die Nationalisierung politischer Parteien und Parteiensysteme in asiatischen Neo-Demokratie’, Politische Vierteljahresschrift, 49 (2): 641–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Diamond, Larry (2008), The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World, New York: Times Books.Google Scholar
Dormels, Rainer (2006), Politische Kultur und Ministerrekrutierung in Südkorea, Münster: Lit Verlag.Google Scholar
Elster, Jon (1995), ‘Forces and Mechanisms in the Constitution-Making Process’, Duke Law Journal, 45 (2): 364–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Elster, Jon (1996), ‘The Role of Institutional Interest in East European Constitution-Making’, East. European Constitutional Review, 5 (6): 6365.Google Scholar
Fortin, Jessica (2008), ‘Patterns of Democracy?’, ZfVP, 2 (1): 198220.Google Scholar
Gallagher, Michael (1991), ‘Proportionality, Disproportionality and Electoral Systems’, Electoral Studies, 10 (1): 3351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ginsburg, Tom (2003), Judicial Review in New Democracies: Constitutional Courts in Asian Cases, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hailsham, Lord (1976), ‘Elective Dictatorship’, The Richard Dimbleby Lecture, London.Google Scholar
Hicken, Alan (2009), Building Party Systems in Developing Democracies, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Huntington, Samuel P. (1991), The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.Google Scholar
Hutt, Michael (2004), Himalayan People's War: Nepal's Maoist Rebellion, London: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
Keesing'sWorldwide (various issues), Keesing's Record of World Events/Keesing's, Contemporary Archive, London.Google Scholar
Kim, Nam-Kook (2008), ‘Consensus Democracy as an Alternative Model in Korean Politics’, Korea Journal, Winter: 182–213.Google Scholar
Klein, James (2003), ‘The Battle Rule of Law in Thailand: The Constitutional Court of Thailand’, unpublished manuscript,–2004/thailand/thailand_downloads/ThaiUpdate_Klien_ConCourt%20Apr03.pdf>>Google Scholar
Laakso, Markku and Taagepera, Rein (1979), ‘Effective Number of Parties: A Measure with Application to West Europe’, Comparative Politics, 12 (1): 327.Google Scholar
Lane, Jan-Erik and Ersson, Svante O. (2000), New Institutional Politics: Outcomes and Consequences, London/New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lawoti, Mahendra (2005), Towards a Democratic Nepal: Inclusive Political Institutions for a Multicultural Society, London: SAGE.Google Scholar
Lawoti, Mahendra (2007), ‘Political Exclusion and the Lack of Democratisation: Cross-National Evaluation of Nepali Institutions using a Majoritarian–Consensus Framework’, Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 45 (1): 5777.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Leyland, Peter (2007), ‘Thailand's Constitutional Watchdogs: Dobermans, Bloodhounds or Lapdogs?’, The Journal of Comparative Law, 2 (2): 151–77.Google Scholar
Lijphart, Arend (1984), Democracies: Patterns of Majoritarian and Consensus Government in Twenty-One Countries, New Haven: Yale University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lijphart, Arend (1999), Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries, New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Lijphart, Arend (2008 [1991]), ‘Constitutional Choices for New Democracies’, in Lijphart, Arend (ed.), Thinking about Democracy: Power Sharing and Majority Rule in Theory and Practice, London/New York: Routledge, pp. 161–73.Google Scholar
Linz, Juan J. (1994), ‘Presidential or Parliamentary Democracy: Does It Make a Difference?’, in Linz, Juan J. and Valenzuela, Arturo (eds.), The Failure of Presidential Democracy, Boulder/London: Westview Press, pp. 391.Google Scholar
McCargo, Duncan (2002), ‘Introduction: Understanding Political Reform in Thailand’, in McCargo, Duncan (ed.), Reforming Thai Politics, Copenhagen: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, pp. 121.Google Scholar
McCargo, Duncan (2005), ‘Network Monarchy and Legitimacy Crisis in Thailand’, The Pacific Review, 18 (4): 499519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Merkel, Wolfgang (2004), ‘Embedded and Defective Democracies’, Democratization, 11 (5): 3358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Merkel, Wolfgang (1999), Systemtransformation, Opladen: Leske and Budrich.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Merkel, Wolfgang, Sandschneider, Ebert, and Segert, Dieter (1996), ‘Einleitung: die Institutionalisierung der Demokratie’, in Merkel, Wolfgang, Sandschneider, Ebert, and Segert, Dieter (eds.), Systemwechsel 2, Opladen: Leske and Budrich.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moestrup, Sophia and Ganzorig, Gombuserengiin (2007), ‘Semi-Presidentialism in Mongolia. Trade-offs between Stability and Governance’, in Elgie, Robert and Moestrup, Sophia (eds.), Semi-Presidentialism Outside Europe: A Comparative Study, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Mollah, Awal Hossain (2008), ‘Bureaucracy and Accountability: The Case of Bangladesh’, International Journal of Governmental Financial Management, 8 (1): 87100.Google Scholar
Nagel, Jack H. (2000), ‘Expanding the Spectrum of Democracies: Reflections on Proportional Representation in New Zealand’, in Crepez, Markus M.L., Koelble, Thomas A., and Wilsford, David (eds.), Democracy and Institutions: The Life Work of Arend Lijphart, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
Nepalresearch (2009), ‘Governments after the Democracy Movement (1990–)’, [03.01.2009].Google Scholar
Nickson, Andrew, Devas, Nick, Brillantes, Alex B., Cabo, W.L., and Celestino, Alice (2008), ‘Asia-Pacific’, in Worldbank (eds.), Decentralization and Local Democracy in the World: First Global Report by United Cities and Local Governments 2008, New York: Worldbank Publications.Google Scholar
Norris, Pippa (2008), Driving Democracy: Do Power-Sharing Institutions Work? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
O'Donnell, Guillermo (1994), ‘Delegative Democracy’, Journal of Democracy, 5 (1): 5569.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pradhan, Rajendra and Shrestha, Ava,(2005), ‘Ethnic and Caste Diversity: Implications for Development’, ADB Working Paper, No. 4.Google Scholar
Przeworski, Adam (1991), Democracy and the Market, Cambridge: Cambridge University PressCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Psephos, Adam Carr's Electoral Archive, [23.05.2008].Google Scholar
Reilly, Benjamin (2006), Democracy and Diversity: Political Engineering in the Asia-Pacific, Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Roberts, Andrew (2006), ‘What Kind of Democracy Is Emerging in Eastern Europe?’, Post-Soviet Affairs, 22 (1): 3764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Roller, Edeltraud (2005), The Performance of Democracies: Political Institutions and Public Policies, Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rüland, Jürgen, Jürgenmeyer, Clemens, Nelson, Michael H., and Ziegenhain, Patrick (2005), Parliaments and Political Change in Asia, Singapore: Konrad Adenauer Foundation.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sajó, András (1999), Limiting Government: An Introduction to Constitutionalism, Budapest/London: Central European University Press.Google Scholar
Sartori, Giovanni (1976), Parties and Party Systems: A Framework for Analysis, Cambridge: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
Schubert, Gunter (2008), ‘Das politische System Taiwans’, in Heberer, Thomas and Derichs, Claudia (eds.), Einführung in die politischen Systeme Ostasiens: 2. Aktualisierte und erweiterte Auflage, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, pp. 417–54.Google Scholar
Shin, Doh Chull and Tusalem, Rollin F. (2009), ‘East Asia’, in Haerpfer, Christian W., Bernhagen, Patrick, Inglehart, Roland F., and Welzel, Christian (eds.), Democratization, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 356–77.Google Scholar
Siaroff, Alan (1998), ‘Corporatism in 24 Industrial Democracies: Meaning and Measurement’, European Journal of Political Research, 36: 175205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stith, Richard (1996), ‘Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendments: The Extraordinary Power of Nepal's Supreme Court’, American University International Law Review, 11: 4777.Google Scholar
Stockmann, Petra (2007), The New Indonesian Constitutional Court: A Study into Its Beginnings and First Years of Work, Jakarta.Google Scholar
Taagepera, Rein (2003), ‘Arend Lijphart's Dimensions of Democracy: Logical Connections and Institutional Design’, Political Studies, 51: 119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thitinan, Ponsudhirak (2008), ‘Thailand since the Coup’, Journal of Democracy, 19 (4): 140–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tsebelis, George (2002), Veto Players: How Political Institutions Work, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ufen, Andreas (2008), ‘Political Party and Party System Institutionalization in Southeast Asia: Lessons for Democratic Consolidation in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand’, Pacific Review, 21 (3): 327–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Van Der Kolk, Hans (2000), ‘Arend Lijphart, Patterns of Democracy’, Acta Politica, 4 (35): 340–43.Google Scholar
Wu, Yu-shan (2007), ‘Semi-Presidentialism – Easy to Choose, Difficult to Operate: The Case of Taiwan’, in Elgie, Robert and Moestrup, Sophia (eds.), Semi-Presidentialism Outside Europe: A Comparative Study, London: Rouledge.Google Scholar
Yonhap News Agency (various years), Korea annual, Seoul: Yonhap.Google Scholar
Zhang, Xiaoke (2005), ‘Political Institutions and Central Bank Autonomy in Taiwan’, European Journal of East Asian Studies, 4 (1): 87114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ziegenhain, Patrick (2008), The Indonesian Parliament and Democratization, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Institutional Patterns in the New Democracies of Asia: Forms, Origins and Consequences1
Available formats

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Institutional Patterns in the New Democracies of Asia: Forms, Origins and Consequences1
Available formats

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Institutional Patterns in the New Democracies of Asia: Forms, Origins and Consequences1
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *