In the 1990s, international legal scholarship was marked by democratic idealism and the belief that democracy had become the only legitimate political system. The more radical proposals even speculated about legality of pro-democratic intervention. Such re-conceptualizations of international law were met with determined criticism. However, even skeptical voices were willing to admit that democracy nevertheless did have some limited normative force in post-Cold War international law. While it would be an exaggeration to say that nondemocratic governments are illegitimate per se, a consensus started to emerge that international law prohibited at least a coup against a democratic government. In the absence of a workable definition of substantive democracy for international law purposes, a democratic government was understood as an authority which comes to power in an electoral process that is reasonably free and fair.