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Role of elections in consolidating democracy

First, behaviourally, no identifiable group in the country has ever attempted to secede from the country since the inception of its current republic.

The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) lost the polls and graciously conceded defeat to the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), and the winner has since assumed office following a colorful inaugural ceremony.

This power alternation is the third in the country’s current democratic dispensation.

Two examples will suffice to put this point in perspective.

First, in Uganda, we are told that the playing field was not level, as Yuweri Museveni flagrantly personalized the electoral process in his bid to secure his thirty-year rule in the country’s February 2016 elections.

Second, in The Gambia, barely a week after conceding defeat and promising to hand over power to a newly elected government, Yahya Jammeh, the country’s ruler for twenty-two years, backtracked on his concession, and annulled the December 2016 polls.

It took the intervention of the international community to oust Jammeh from office.

In the 2000 polls, the governing (NDC) lost and peacefully handed over power to the opposition (NPP).

Similarly, when the NPP lost the 2008 national elections, the party peacefully surrendered power to the NDC, the then opposition party.

His approach is to compare the formal institutional rules (for example the constitution) with the informal practices of actors.

Consolidation on this view is when the actors in a system follow (have informally institutionalised) the formal rules of the democratic institution.

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