Spain and Chile participated in the third wave of democratization in the Twentieth Century. During the 1970s, Spain transformed from an authoritarian to a democratic regime, whereas in the 1980s, Latin American countries also transferred their governments to democratic ones under the tide of democratization. Among them, Chile’s struggle was most worth noting, as it became an authoritarian state for many years after a Coup d''etat in 1973 had broken out Therefore, these two countries were the focus of the world on their process of democratization.
Franco had governed Spain in a dictatorship for nearly forty years. Despite the fact that Franco’s regime was not democratic, Spain’s politics had been stable during his reign, even experiencing an economic boom. Therefore, it would be fair to say that Franco had, in fact, laid the foundation of Spain’s future democratization. Nonetheless, under his dictatorship, not only political oppositions were repressed, but also the administration was autarchic and ofthen intervened the legislation and judicial judgment in the political problems. After Franco’s death, reintatement of King Juan Carlos was seen as the watershed that marked the end of authoritarian rule and the beginning of the new era.
In the case of Chile, Pinochet had created and controled an authoritarian regime for sixteen years, which was the longest and most severe authoritarian rule in Chilean history. For the purpose of solving economic problems, Pinochet adopted the monetary policy advocated by “Chicago boys”, and implemented a series of free-market economics and liberal trading policies. During this period, the social oppositions suffered crucial repression from the military government, which eclipsed their vitality. In 1989, Chile returned to democratic regime led by Patricio Aylwin.
Democracy, of course, is not a perfect political system. Yet, it has the best potential of becoming a perfect one, given the right circumstances. However, a political democratization does not come naturally or cheaply, which has to be pursued in earnest, and it has been the goal of many states since the 19th century. Despite difficulties, each country should implement a democratic system that is compatible to its own history, culture and customs.
This thesis compared the democratization transformation between Spain and Chile, in order to understand relative theories of democratic transitions, and to seek answers how Spain and Chile transferred their governments to a democratic one. Finally, it evaluated these two countries by their similarities and differences.