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Democracy and Multi-party politics in Africa

Makinda, S.M. (1996) Democracy and Multi-party politics in Africa. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 34 (4). pp. 555-573.

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AUTHORITARIAN leaders and single-party régimes of all shades increasingly came under great pressures between 1990 and 1993 to liberalise and permit more participation in the political process. This transformation, which was part of what Samuel Huntington described as ‘the third wave of democratisation’,1 stemmed from sustained efforts by domestic political forces in African states, albeit assisted by a variety of demanded requirements from international financial institutions and industrialised countries, as well as by the disintegration of the Soviet Union. According to the US Deputy Secretary of State, Strobe Talbott, the ‘new resolve to establish new attitudes, arrangements and structures’ came directly out of the exhaustion of the cold war.2 In other words, the promotion of democracy in Africa was part of the so-called peace dividend.3 Expectations for political evolution throughout the world were so high that some analysts predicted the emergence of ‘an international democratic order’.4 As Keith Somerville has observed: ‘Africa entered the 1990S in a mood of hope and expectation’.5

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Copyright: © 1996 Cambridge University Press
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