East Timor’s democracy is flourishing, but economic hard times will test its resolve
To suggest that East Timor's democracy is "consolidated" or somehow a permanent feature of the political landscape might reflect a blinkered understanding of what it takes to retain a viable democracy.
East Timor goes to its fourth parliamentary elections tomorrow in a process that for many observers describe as the consolidation of its young democracy. East Timor has done a remarkable job of building its democratic processes, not least from its near meltdown of 2006-07.
But the idea that a democratic process can be "consolidated", i.e. "locked in", assumes that the inherent fragility of democratic processes can somehow be permanently guaranteed. In short, it cannot. A commonly agreed political process is a relatively recent political phenomenon and one that has not worked especially well outside of a handful of countries.