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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Democracy in Africa: the post electoral era?
Author:Bakary, TessyISNI
Year:1998
Periodical:CODESRIA Bulletin
Issue:3-4
Pages:9-15
Language:English
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:democracy
elections
Abstract:From Benin to South Africa, 'inaugural' democratic elections have been characterized by their remarkable quality. Since then, there has been a general decline in the importance and purpose of the electoral process in sub-Saharan Africa. This is partly due to constitutional and electoral adjustment in favour of the ruling parties. It is also related to the effects of other major trends of the electoral process, notably 'active' or 'passive' boycotting of elections, divisions within the opposition, and the importance of external electoral assistance, which generally decreased for the second elections from 1994 to 1997. In most cases, multiparty elections resulted in 'revolving door governments': they simply enabled members of the ruling class in place to succeed one another 'democratically'. The most serious dangers facing the experience of democratization, however, are the lack of voter participation; voter 'disappearance', that is the progressive decline in the number of registered voters in relation to the eligible population; and the devaluation of politics, the democratic disenchantment of the masses and the general feeling of the need to disengage from politics or to do politics by other means. Yet democracy in Africa cannot be instituted against its opponents. It will either be done with their participation, or not at all. Bibliogr.
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