Disparity in democracies a comparative case study of Mali and Niger
Lawson, Letitia L.
Mensch, Eugene M. II
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In order to understand variation in post-transition levels of democracy, this thesis undertakes a comparative case study of Mali and Niger. Despite similarities, Mali had substantially more success with democratization than Niger. This thesis employs a detailed process tracing of the decisions of political and civil society leaders in Mali and Niger at critical junctures when democratic institutions were put to the test to evaluate the empirical validity of existing explanations. It seeks to validate (or invalidate) the causal mechanisms linking political culture and democratic success. The evidence however, suggests something different. There is a remarkable parallel in the behavior of political and civil actors in the two countries, which invalidates the hypotheses. The most likely alternative explanation is the role of key individuals. The analysis indicates that "good guys" in Mali may have had a part in encouraging the forthright application of the rule of law, as they accepted rulings that ran counter to their agendas, whereas "bad guys" in Niger who, to varying degrees, engaged in actions that were arguably illegal,l as they ran counter to the respective Niger constitutions, may have had a part in encouraging the abandonment of the rule of law.
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