Scholars have noted that the appearance of "waves" of democracy largely disappears when women's suffrage is taken into account; moreover, some countries change their positions quite dramatically: Switzerland, which is typically included as part of the first wave, did not grant women the right to vote until 1971.The Third wave began in 1974 (Carnation Revolution, Portugal) and included the historic democratic transitions in Latin America in the 1980s, Asia Pacific countries (Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan) from 1986 to 1988, Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and sub-Saharan Africa beginning in 1989. Huntington has dubbed the "third wave" of democratization has seen more than 60 countries experience democratic transitions since 1974.While these countries have succeeded in bringing down authoritarian regimes and replacing them with freely elected governments, few of them can as yet be considered stable democracies.
Prospects for European Union membership provided the necessary pressure for creating the critical domestic masses for the push toward democracy in Portugal, Spain, and Greece, since the establishment of democratic institutions was necessary to secure the economic benefits for Community membership. Other international factors also contributed to launching the Third-Wave.The most striking and pivotal part of democracy's third wave occurred in Central and Eastern Europe, where long-repressed peoples overthrew totalitarian regimes and began an unprecedented transformation from communistic tyranny to democratic freedom.Both the methods and the mission of democratic development in Central and Eastern Europe helped to revive an old and seemingly obsolescent idea, that of the importance of "civil society." Understanding this idea is, I believe, a key to understanding the prospects for democracy in the world, and also to measuring its quality in the United States.Most remain engaged in the struggle to consolidate their new and fragile democratic institutions.Consolidating the Third Wave Democracies provides an in-depth analysis of the challenges that they face.