Pol Sci Paper - 1 POL SCI 111 B Paper I March 17, 2007 2...

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POL SCI 111 B Paper I March 17, 2007 1
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This fictional country in its attempt to transition from an autocratic political system to a democratic government will have to emulate a real country if it is to succeed. The closet realistic national example that parallels the fictional example is the West African nation of Nigeria, another state that is beset by ethnic tensions and is also trying to transform itself from an autocracy to a democracy even as I write these words. It is now a hybrid of authoritarianism and democracy as it contains aspects of both ideological systems in its political structure. I will outline the processes that democratization has taken in the case of Nigeria as a model for the fictional country to follow. Nigeria is a presidential federal republic with executive power resting in the hands of the President. It has a bicameral legislature, the National Assembly made up of a one higher chamber, the Senate, and a lower chamber, the House of Representatives. This legislative body checks the power of the President in theory but has had little practice in effectively executing this power. There are over two hundred and fifty ethnic groups in this nation of one hundred and thirty four million people, the largest of which are the Hausa, the Yoruba, and the Igbo, all competing for national hegemony. There are two major parties in the political system consisting of the current ruling party, the People's Democratic Party, and the opposition party, the All Nigeria Peoples Party. Nigeria has historically had an exceptionally difficult time in making the transition from an autocracy to a democracy as a result of its inherent ethnic and religious cleavages. 2
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These cleavages are the result of the former European colonial powers carving up the entire continent of Africa without regard for the tribal, religious, and cultural traditions that prexisted their dominion. Nigeria is just one example of many on the African continent of nations being torn apart by civil strife resulting from the colonial partitoning (the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo being two other
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This note was uploaded on 05/07/2008 for the course POLI SCI 111 taught by Professor Brookings during the Spring '08 term at UMass (Amherst).

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Pol Sci Paper - 1 POL SCI 111 B Paper I March 17, 2007 2...

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