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Southern Europe


The V-Dem Regional Center for Southern Europe was founded in March 2016. It aims to develop research on the causes and consequences of democratization in Southern Europe, which includes the countries of Andorra, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, and Cyprus. The Center is supported by a Research Grant awarded to Tiago Fernandes and Staffan Lindberg, by the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation (Lisbon, Portugal. The Center organizes several activities, namely yearly academic conferences and policy-oriented workshops. We invite scholars, policy-makers, journalists and the general public to contact us.

Signing ceremony:


From right to left: Associate Professor Tiago Fernandes, Professor Staffan I. Lindberg


The V-Dem Regional Center for Southern Europe conducts research on the causes and consequences of democracy and democratization in the region, using the Varieties of Democracy dataset, and combining it with historical research. Until 2024 the center will pursue the following research projects: 1) the origins of liberal democracy and the rule of law in Portugal from the 1970s to the present within a comparative framework of third wave democratization; 2) a comparative study of patterns of democratic quality in France, Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal since the late 1960s to the present; 3) the long-run consequences of democratic institutions for human welfare, economic development, and social and political trust.


Tiago Fernandes is Head of the Center. Tiago Fernandes (PhD European University Institute, Florence, 2009) is associate professor (with habilitation) in the department of political science and public policy and a researcher of the Center for International Studies (CEI) at the University Institute of Lisbon – ISCTE (Portugal). He works on the politics of democracy, social movements and civil society, with a regional specialization on Southern Europe

His most recent publications are Civil Society, Democracy, and Inequality: Cross-Regional Comparisons (1970s-2010s), Special Issue, Comparative Politics (2017) (co-edited); Memories and Movements. The Legacy of Democratic Transitions in Contemporary Anti-Austerity Protest (Oxford University Press, 2017); Late neoliberalism and its discontents: Comparing crises and movements in the European periphery (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2016) and Democracy, Institutions and Political Culture: Southern Europe, 1970s-2010s, Lisbon, Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation, 2019 (co-authored); Forty-Five Years of Democracy in Portugal: Achievements and Prospects, Lisbon, Portuguese Parliament, 2020 (co-edited); and The Quality of Democracy in Southern Europe, 1960s-2010s: A Comparison of France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, and Spain (University of Notre Dame Press - Kellogg Institute for International Studies Series on Democracy and Development), (under review) (edited).

Together with Staffan Lindberg, he directs the project Liberal Democracy, the Rule of Law and the State: Portugal in comparative perspective, 1970s – 2020s, funded by the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation, which focuses on the causes and consequences of Portugal’s democratization within a comparative framework of third wave democracies. 

He is also a non-resident fellow at the Center on Social Movement Studies (Scuola Normale Superiore, Florence) and head of the Varieties of Democracy Regional Center for Southern Europe. He was a visiting scholar at Princeton University, the Juan March Foundation (Madrid) and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame (USA) and is the recipient of the Gulbenkian Foundation award for the best article in the social sciences and the Best PhD Dissertation prize of the Portuguese Political Science Association.

Vania Alvares is a PhD candidate in political science at Nova University of Lisbon. After becoming a lawyer from University of Coimbra and a member of the Bar, she later pursued her interest on the judicialization of politics and democracy and graduated from the master program in political science from Nova University, with a thesis on the superior councils of magistracy.

Rui Branco is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Studies, Nova University of Lisbon. His research interests center on comparative state formation, civil society and social policy. His more recent work has focused on civil society and democratization in new democracies, social policy and welfare civil society in Southern Europe, and fiscal welfare and inequality in Portugal.

João Cancela is V-Dem Country Coordinator for Spain and a PhD candidate and a teaching assistant at the Department of Political Studies in Nova University of Lisbon. His main research interests are political participation, elections, and local politics. He is the country coordinator for Malta within the V-Dem network. With Benny Geys, he recently published “Explaining Voter Turnout: A Meta-Analysis of National and Subnational Elections”, Electoral Studies, 2016.

Edna Falorca is a PhD candidate in Political Science at Nova University of Lisbon. Her research interests are Gender Inequalities and the Quality of Democracy. Her Masters dissertation was on the under-representation of women in politics in Portugal (Women’s Pathways to Power, 2010). Currently, her PhD project focuses on gender inequalities in work-family balance, what drives them and the possibilities for change in Southern Europe.

Frederico Rocha is Country Coordinator for Portugal and Assistant Director at the Cardiff University's European Documentation Centre. He holds an MA in Political Science from Nova University (Lisbon) and his research has been focusing on forms of nationalism, democratic transitions and radical right-wing parties. He also has an academic interest on party systems and civil societies across Europe.

Pedro T. Magalhães is a researcher at the Portuguese Institute of International Relations (IPRI). He holds a PhD in political science from Nova University of Lisbon and his research interests are political theory and the history of political ideas, as well as, within the V-Dem project, the subnational dimension of democracy in Southern Europe. His most recent publication is «A Contingent Affinity: Max Weber, Carl Schmitt, and the Challenge of Modern Politics», Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 77, No. 2 (April 2016), pp. 283-304. 

José Santana-Pereira, PhD in Political and Social Sciences (EUI, Florence, 2012), is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at ICS, University of Lisbon, and a Guest Assistant Professor at ISCTE-IUL. His research interests comprise elections, public opinion, political attitudes and behaviour, media and politics, and the organization and effects of political campaigns. His work has been published in journals such as Electoral Studies and South European Society and Politics.​ Since the summer of 2015 he is the Country Coordinator for Italy. In the V-DEM Southern Europe team, his areas of expertise are the media and direct democracy. 

Edalina Rodrigues Sanches is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences (University of Lisbon) and at IPRI (Portuguese Institute of International Relations). She has been a V-Dem country expert Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau. Her research interests include party system institutionalization in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Europe, quality of democracy and political behavior.

Tiago Tibúrcio is a doctoral student in Political Science, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia (CIES-IUL), in Portugal. His research focus is on Parliaments and citizen's engagement with parliaments. He worked as an expert in Parliaments and petitions with the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and the European Parliament.

Pedro Diniz de Sousa holds a Master’s in Sociology and is currently a PhD candidate in Political Science at NOVA University of Lisbon. He’s developed his research in the areas of political communication and discourse. He has been Assistant Professor of Political Sociology and Social Science Methodology. He is the author of the following books: Dramatic Discourse in the Portuguese post-Revolutionary Press (2003) and co-author of Being a Journalist in Portugal: Sociological Profiles (2011) and The New Generations of Portuguese Journalists (2014).

Filipa Raimundo is a research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, and Guest Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and Public Policy at ISCTE-IUL, Lisbon. She holds a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute, Florence. Her interests include democratization, transitional justice, the quality of democracy, and political decision-making. Her work has been published by journals such as Democratization, South European Society and Politics, and the Portuguese Journal of Social Science and in edited volumes by Palgrave/Macmillan and Columbia University Press. She is the country coordinator for France within the V-Dem network.


Address: Tiago Fernandes, Department of Political Science and Public Policy and Center for International Studies (CEI), University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE); Av. das Forças Armadas, 1649-026 Lisboa, Portugal.