The process of democratization in a country is the organization and execution of a national electoral process. Promoting democracy was thus primary conceived of as encouraging or assisting a country to hold national elections and helping whatever government emerged from the elections to maintain and consolidate power.
This elections-oriented conception of democracy falls short of the conventional western political science definition of pluralist democracy in at least tow important ways. It ignores the crucial question of how much real authority a particular elected government has—whether, for example, an elected government's authority is curtailed in practice by the military, the economic elite, or other power sectors. Additionally, it gives drastically short shrift to the issue of the kinds and degree of political participation that exist within the country in question. Although voting is an important form of political participation, a democracy entails a much broader range of participation including the free expression of opinions, day-to-day interaction between the government and the citizenry, the mobilization of interest groups, and so fourth.
Carothers, Tomas in Lowenthal, Abraham editor, Exporting Democracy: The United States and Latin America (Johns Hopkins, 1991), p 117.