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De walle range of regimes.doc

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Political Science
POLI 324
Khalid Medani

Nicolas van de Walle, “Africa’s Range of Regimes” - the 1990s brought about great change in African politics. However, many view the change of multi-partyism to be more of the same and still just as corrupt - problems with this view o 1. Takes away from the fact that there has been an actual profound advancement o 2. It makes one hold Africa to the strict standards of democracy that even very few western countries meet o 3. It generalized across Africa and burrs the differences between countries Rise of Multipartism - 1989-2000 saw the rise of 70 presidential election in sub-Saharan Africa. Compared to only 9 in 1985-1989 - the degree to which these countries are actually free and functioning multiparty systems varies o of the 39, 9 are free, 22 are partly free and 8 are not free (according to freedom house scale) - real democracies include places like Mauritius and Botswana - not free o President and the small group around him have the power. Media is suppressed, votes are fraud, and violence is committed against the opposition or they are given very little influence. - Reasons o It is not the case in Africa that a richer country necessarily means an easier transition to democracy as states in the modernization theory  Mauritius and Botswana were poor when they became democratic o The way a country transitioned has an impact  Those which an authoritarian leader was there to oversee the transition are less likely to be successfully democratic  Getting rid of the old ruler opens up the political space Political competition - Sometimes it can cause insatiability for regime clasping onto power o CAR and Madagascar are examples where opposition threatens democracy as their existence heightens the temptation of using force against them. - Steady pressure from opposition can however greatly contribute towards the transi
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