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Unformatted text preview: ONFLICT, AND DEMOCRACY IN AFRICA, 1999, P. 28-29 In the evaluative debates about third-wave democratization in Africa, two major arguments have been advanced by those skeptical of its therapeutic value for the African state. First, competitive political parties and open elections necessarily mobilize and politicize regional, ethnic, religious, and racial solidarities, and therefore intensify disintegrative pressures on fragile states, without notably contributing to either stability or legitimacy. Second, the severity of the economic crisis and the intrinsic difficulties of persuading electorates that painful austerity measures are necessary render recovery impossible and assure a further downward spiral. This is the essence of Thomas Callaghy's warning of a "high historical correlation in the contemporary era between authoritarian rule and the ability to engage in major economic restructuring in the Third World." Here, we may not one encounters a reprise of the core 1960 arguments in the brief for the single-party regime: the overriding urgency of nation building and the imperative of centralized, unchallenged state developmental authority. Few today would dispute the premise that electoral competition readily flows along societal fault lines defined by ethnicity, religion, or race, both in the world at large and in Africa. Such identities serve as tempting vote banks for party organizers. With the perhaps momentary eclipse of ideological alignments, in an epoch where all forms of som remain blighted by the stigma of the failed Soviet version, political challengers have great difficulty in defining an alternative projet de societe. Electoral discourse is thus limited to vague slogans of change ("sopi," in the Senegalese version and opposition to incumbents. One finds few cases (Senegal is one example) where political alignments are little affected by communal solidarities. DEMOCRATIC PEACE IS UNPREDICTABLE Ben Hunt, NQ, Democratization, Internat...
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