POLI 324 Chapter Notes -Status Quo, Debt Relief, Sub-Saharan Africa

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13 Apr 2012
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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
o1. Takes away from the fact that there has been an actual
profound advancement
o2. It makes one hold Africa to the strict standards of
democracy that even very few western countries meet
o3. 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
oof 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
oPresident 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
oIt 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
oThe 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
oCAR and Madagascar are examples where opposition threatens
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