Transiton to democracy in Senegal: The role of decentralization

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Although many African nations are engaged in the process of democratization, Senegal is one of the few generally considered to be successfully making the transition to a fully democratic state. The African Governance Program of the Carter Center of Emory University has developed an eight-point scale for measuring phases of the transition to democracy, eight being the final stage, consolidation of democracy. Senegal receives a seven on this scale - the legitimization stage, the highest rating ever received by an African country - indicating that "the legitimacy of the government as well as the constitutional democratic system is generally accepted." It should also be noted that Senegal is the only one of the five states to receive such a rating (the others being Gambia, Mauritius, Namibia, and Botswana) which is not a micro-state in terms of either size or population. While it cannot be said that democracy has been fully institutionalized in Senegal, clearly some very important steps have been taken in that direction. -- Author's Introduction


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Government policy, Government, Decentralization, Democratization, Senegal, Transitions, Governance


previously published as an article in the Winter 1993 issue of In Depth 3: 23-52