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What went wrong in Burkina Faso

What went wrong in Burkina Faso

The Washington Post has published a lengthy article by 2015 Tutu Fellow Landry Signe on the most recent coup in Burkina Faso, just a few weeks before a democratic presidential election. In it, he outlines some of the signals people should watch for when it comes to the successful transfer of power in Africa.


The accepted standard is that free and fair elections lead to democratic results; Signe argues that institutional checks and balances in government are an important measure of whether a country is likely to survive as a democracy or revert to authoritarian rule.  While the Burkina Faso coup may have caught outside observers by surprise, Signe writes that between 1996 and 2010, "there were 10 cases of authoritarian reversal. I found democratizing countries in Africa with the weakest constraints on the executive branch were more likely to return to dictatorship."  In Burkina Faso, the legitimacy of the transition has been troubled since popular protests drove former President Blaise Compaore from power.  Signe provides considerable more insight into the ongoing difficulties being faced in the country and the full piece can be read at the Washingon Post.

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