This article evaluates the trends of democratization over the last ten years. In particular, it focuses on the new transitions to democracy taking place in Central-eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, the two regions where this political process has lately been more pervasive. The basic question The author tries to answer is whether the conditions that favored the democratic wave originating in Portugal in the mid-seventies are still able to explain the political transformations that followed the breakdown of the Berlin wall. For many the implosion of Communism makes any such comparisons impossible. After summarizing some crucial variables suggested by the literature to explain democratic transitions and consolidation, The author tests this hypothesis in both Central-eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. Initial findings show that in many cases the variables that favored democratic transitions before 1989 operate in similar ways thereafter. A few differences aside, in the most recent cases a number of basic economic, institutional and cultural conditions continue, as they did earlier, to favor or frustrate democratization.