(This is a current page, from the Patterns of Power Edition 3 book contents. An archived copy of this page is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/6311.htm)
It is possible to have governments which can be described as partially authoritarian. Some have the structures which are associated with democracy but have suppressed opposition to become more authoritarian – as in Russia and Turkey for example.
A Guardian article, 15 years of Vladimir Putin: 15 ways he has changed Russia and the world, describes how President Putin has “consistently moved toward greater consolidation of his own power” by eliminating opponents, developing a “cult of personality” and restoring Russian national pride.
In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also been consolidating his power. An Economist article, Recep Tayyip the First, described how “Mr Erdogan and his party, plus their ultranationalist allies, scored a double knockout in Turkey’s elections” in June 2018. “Though free, it was the most unfair election in Turkey in decades”.
“Mr Erdogan has complete control of the executive, including the power to issue decrees, appoint his own cabinet, draw up the budget, dissolve parliament by calling early elections, and pack the bureaucracy and the courts with political appointees.”
Both Russia and Turkey hold elections but there is no effective opposition in either country, so they are one-party States in practice whilst retaining the vestiges of democratic legitimacy. Their populations cannot easily change their governments. Human rights and freedom of the press are curtailed in both.