Assessments of the quality of democracy focus on deviations from the rule of law and decreasing levels of political participation. They study if and why representative democracy backslides, but do not adequately explore how the backsliding takes places. Although not present in all backsliding democracies, populism, clientelism and corruption are three mechanisms which cause, in various ways, downgrading of representative democracies in some European countries today. Examples range from recently consolidated or unconsolidated democratic regimes, to more long-term established democracies. Three extreme cases of backsliding are Serbia under the government of Aleksandar Vucic, Macedonia or FYROM under Nikola Gruevski (in power until 2016) and Montenegro under Milo Djukanovic. Variations of the backsliding of democracy can also be observed in countries undergoing economic crisis, such as Greece since 2010.