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Repression and Resilience: Diagnosing Closing Space Mid-Pandemic

This study illustrates how democratic space was affected by the global pandemic, drawing on case studies from Burundi, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Uganda and Venezuela, as well as the wider research community. The research points to the important role of country-specific political developments and other concurring crises in defining the impact of the global pandemic on each country’s democratic space. Across case studies and other literature, we find that the pandemic has aggravated and accelerated existing trends of democratic backsliding. Authorities have been hiding behind pandemic management to further clamp down on civic space, create an uneven level playing field, and undermine the system of democratic checks and balances.