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Authoritarianism describes a [form of government] characterized by an emphasis on the [authority] of [state] in a republic or union. It is a political system controlled by typically non-elected rulers who usually permit some degree of individual freedom.
Theodore M. Vestal of [Oklahoma State University–Stillwater] has written that authoritarianism is characterized by:

- "Highly concentrated and [centralized] power structures," in which [political power] is generated and maintained by a " [repressive] system that excludes potential challengers" and uses [political parties] and mass organizations to "mobilize people around the goals of the government";"Vestal, Theodore M. [Ethiopia: A Post-Cold War African State] . Greenwood, 1999, p. 17.
- The following [principle] s:
:1) rule of men, not [rule of law] ;
: 2) [rigged elections] ;
: 3) all important political decisions made by unelected officials behind closed doors;
: 4) a [bureaucracy] operated quite independently of rules, the supervision of elected officials, or concerns of the constituencies they purportedly serve;
: 5) the informal and unregulated exercise of political power;
- Leadership that is "self-appointed and even if elected cannot be displaced by citizens' free choice among competitors"
- No guarantee of [civil liberties] or tolerance for meaningful [opposition] ;
- Weakening of [civil society] : "No [freedom] to create a broad range of groups, organizations, and political parties to compete for power or question the decisions of rulers," with instead an "attempt to impose [controls] on virtually all elements of society"; and

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