The success and stability of democratic transitions is often a function of the strength of prevailing social networks. Such transitions often face active resistance from vested interests. Yet, the cohesion of networks of civic groups, labor unions, business associations, and others with robust information-sharing systems permit the flexibility and resilience needed to realize genuine reforms and ensure stable transitions.
Recent and upcoming elections around Africa demonstrate that transparent and well-managed electoral systems are key to advancing transitional states, consolidating democratic progress, and avoiding destabilizing disputes. Current electoral management methods, however, frequently lack focused strategies that integrate electoral commissions, political parties, and civil society monitors to effectively assess, deter, detect, and mitigate fraud.
The African Union adopted the landmark African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance in 2007. While implementation still lags behind the principles outlined for holding elections, building state institutions, creating a democratic culture, and preventing unconstitutional changes of government, the Charter establishes an important normative and institutional framework for Africa’s still nascent democratic systems.
Good summary of the rationale for why democracies of all income levels tend to realize superior economic growth, development, and security.
Genuine democratization requires far more than a series of free and fair elections but also the establishment of many institutions and procedures such as independent and effective legislative, judicial, and investigative bodies within a state. Benin’s major democratic institutions are improving their effectiveness, but recent maneuvers demonstrate how “spoils politics” can disrupt positive democratic trends.
A well-researched, well-written book about critical aspects of democratic reforms like the mechanics of voter registration systems, the distinction between inclusive and exclusive political systems, the peer-review initiatives of NEPAD, and the complex dynamics of term limit laws.
Good piece that thoughtfully links democracy, security, and development in Africa.
Security Topics: Democratization