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Post-Cold War Democratization in Africa: The Paradox of Elections and Democratic Consolidation

Felix Kumah-Abiwu


Africa is undergoing many forms of political transitions from authoritarian regimes to democratic political systems since the end of the Cold War. Central to the democratization process is the empirical question of whether elections in transitional regimes facilitate or impede democratic consolidation. Employing the methodology of documentary analyses of key scholarly works in the field, the article examines the competing explanations of elections and Africa’s democratization and contends that elections with a good electoral governance process facilitate democratic consolidation. For democracy to further flourish, the author argues for electoral governance systems that are not only strong and independent, but also trustworthy. Besides, the article contributes to the understanding of the field by arguing for the study of elections and democratization with emphasis on the process of electoral management.


Africa; Post-Cold War; Democratization; Democratic Consolidation; Electoral Governance; Paradox of Elections; Elections

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West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, and Olufemi Taiwo.

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