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.

Since May 2021, V-Dem Southern Europe is also the representative of Portugal at the European Policy Institutes Network of the Centre for European Policy Studies (Brussels).

We invite scholars, policy-makers, journalists and the general public to contact us.



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:

  • 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;
  • A comparative study of patterns of democratic quality in France, Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal since the late 1960s to the present; and
  • The long-run consequences of democratic institutions for human welfare, economic development, and social and political trust.


Tiago Fernandes is the head of the V-Dem Regional Center for Southern Europe. Fernandes (PhD European University Institute, Florence, 2009) is an 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).

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). 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.

Claudia Araújo is a V-Dem Country Coordinator on Greece and Portugal. She is a PhD candidate on Citizenship and Human Rights at the University of Barcelona and a researcher at the Centre for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra. She also collaborates with the Gender Equality Academy and with the Institute for Greater Europe. She co-authored, together with Tiago Fernandes, Isabel Gorjão Santos, Eduardo Romanos, «Protest cycles and democracy: a comparison between Portugal and Spain, 2000-2019» (Sociologia - Problemas e Práticas, 2021).

Rui Branco is Associate Professor at the Department of Political Studies, NOVA University (Lisbon) and Senior Researcher at IPRI-NOVA. His research focuses on comparative democratization, social protection and labor policies. He edited with M. Bernhard and T. Fernandes the special issue «Civil Society, Democracy, and Inequality: Cross-Regional Comparisons (1970s-2015)» (Comparative Politics, 2017); co-authored «Liberalized Dualization. Labour Market Reforms and the Crisis in Portugal: a New Departure» (European Journal of Social Security, 2018), «The Golden Age of Fiscal Welfare: Tax Expenditures and Inequality in Portugal (1989-2011)» (New Political Economy, 2019) and «Here to Stay? Reversals of Structural Reforms in Southern Europe as the Crisis Wanes» (South European Society and Politics, 2019). Most recently, he co-authored «The Politics of Change. Coalitional politics and labour market reforms during the sovereign debt crisis in Portugal» (Journal of Social Policy, 2020) and co-edited with T. Fernandes Forty-Five Years of Portuguese Democracy (Assembleia da República, 2020), where he also published the chapter «Welfare State and Egalitarian Democracy: Portugal and Southern Europe.

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

Edna Costa holds a European PhD (2018) in Political Science from NOVA-FCSH, and she is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Governance, Competitiveness and Public Policies Research Unit (GOVCOPP), University of Aveiro. Additionally, she is a researcher at IPRI-NOVA (NOVA-FCSH) and CIEG (ISCSP-UL) and a gender expert from the Portuguese Commission on Citizenship and Gender Equality (CIG). Her main research interest is on gender and politics, with a special focus on representation, political participation and public policies.

Pedro T. Magalhães holds a PhD in Political Science by NOVA University - Lisbon, where he taught as a Guest Assistant Professor until 2018. He is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Academy of Finland funded Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives (Eurostorie), hosted by the Centre for European Studies at the University of Helsinki. His main research interests are in the fields of democratic theory, modern political ideologies and twentieth-century intellectual history. He has published The Legitimacy of Modern Democracy (Routledge) and several articles in periodicals such as the Journal of the History of Ideas, Historical Social Research and the Journal of Political Ideologies.

Filipa Raimundo is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and Public Policy at ISCTE-IUL. She holds a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute, Florence. Her interests include democratization, transitional justice, authoritarian legacies, and political parties. Her work has been published by journals such as Democratization, South European Society and Politics, Mediterranean Politics, and Communist and Post-Communist Studies, and in edited volumes by Palgrave/Macmillan, Springer, and Columbia University Press. She is the country coordinator for France within the V-Dem network.

Edalina Rodrigues Sanches, PhD in Political Science (University of Lisbon), is an Assistant Professor in African Studies at the Department of Political Science and Public Policy at the University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE) and a researcher at its’ the Centre for International Studies (CEI). Her research interests comprise democratization, popular protest, constituency service, political institutions, elections, political parties and party systems, with a focus on Africa. Her work has been featured in Journal of International Relations and Development, African Affairs, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Parliamentary Affairs, International Politics, Electoral Studies, and South European Society and Politics. She is also a regular contributor to the blogs Presidential Power and Africaye and has recently published the book Party Systems in Young Democracies: Varieties of institutionalization in Sub-Saharan Africa (Routledge, 2018). She is currently developing a project on parliamentary activity, party-citizen linkages and constituency service in Africa.

José Santana Pereira is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Policy at the University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE) and Researcher at its Research Center for Social Studies (CIES). He is the Country Coordinator for Italy. His research focuses on issues such as media systems, media effects on public opinion, campaigns, political attitudes and voting behaviour. His work has been published in journals such as Electoral Studies, Journal of European Public Policy, Perspectives on European Politics and Society, South European Society and Politics and Swiss Political Science Review.

Tiago Tibúrcio holds a PhD in Political Science from the University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE). His research focus is on Parliaments and citizen's engagement with parliaments. His most recent works address the effectiveness of petition systems in Europe and the evolution and consolidation of the Portuguese Parliament. He worked as an expert in Parliaments and petitions with the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and the European Parliament. Currently he works in the research division of the Portuguese 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 has 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).


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.

E-mail: Tiago.Luis.Fernandes@iscte-iul.pt