Political instability

Other Names:
Dependence on political volatility
Unstable electoral system

Lack of political continuity in the application of government tends towards sudden violent or disruptive change and fluctuation. Political instability is a function of a lack of consensus, which may arise as a result of colonial influence, a failure to materialize the sense of 'nationhood' in the citizenry, dictatorship, economic instability or foreign influence. Frequent changes in governments (or attempts to do so), internal dissensions and labour disputes and involvement in border clashes with neighbouring countries may also contribute to the political instability of countries. Political instability may result in social, ethnic or national disintegration and provide a barrier to progress through repression and negative change. It may also cause foreign intervention or an increase in foreign influence.


For the former Soviet Union Soviet republics, the region where communism once held unchallenging rule, the rule in 1993 was turbulent nationalism, unstable democratic institutions and prolonged class and ethnic conflicts. The mass movements, such as Solidarity, which replaced the communists, are themselves splitting apart, and several years of collapsing living standards have made some voters resentful and susceptible to demagogy, either from the extreme right or from the ex-communist left.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Problem Type:
C: Cross-sectoral problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST