The persistence of democracy in today’s Greece may be surprising for two reasons. First, liberal democracy survived an economic crisis in the 2010s that was more severe than the Great Depression of the 1930s. Second, liberal democracy has remained stable despite the fact that the period since the 1974 transition from the Colonels’ Regime has witnessed the diffusion of illiberal ideas and an emergence of relatively small yet very active antiliberal parties. Liberal democracy has been resilient in the face of nationalism and populism, even though accountable liberal institutions enjoy limited political trust. The resilience of contemporary Greek democracy can be explained through two sets of factors: a political set and a social set. Political factors include a long history of political liberalism and the robustness of contemporary political-party competition. Social factors include Greece’s relatively large middle class and the absence of overlapping  social cleavages that could otherwise have led to destructive socio-political polarization and then a slide toward illiberalism. The Greek case shows under what conditions a liberal democracy can flourish in a less-than-liberal context.

Read here the full analysis by Dimitri A. Sotiropoulos, Senior Research Fellow; Professor of Political Science, University of Athens at the Journal of Illiberalism Studies.