The Looming Threat to Democracy in South Africa

From my observation of democracies around the world, I’m worried that the risk of a slide into authoritarian rule in South Africa over the next several years is rising and substantial.

That’s the lede from an essay of mine that went up today on the Transitions blog at Foreign Policy‘s Democracy Lab channel. You can find the whole thing here.

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  1. Alan

     /  June 12, 2014

    I’m a lay-person and a South African. I wonder what your thoughts are on your South Africa piece now that the ANC has once again comfortably won a majority with scant losses in our latest election? I note that many of the conditions you mention are unchanged – large amounts of labour unrest and a recent attempt by the ANC to villify the press in response to an admittedly offensive cartoon.

    • Thanks for reading. My view is essentially unchanged. South Africa still hasn’t reverted to authoritarian rule, but that’s partly because the opposition remains too weak to pose the kind of threat to the ANC that would oblige it to choose between truly rigging the system or risking a loss of power and the privileges that go with it. Of course, the opposition remains weak, in part, because of the incumbent government’s authoritarian-esque responses to political and press challenges. Perhaps the next election cycle or an expansion of the current unrest to other sectors and segments of society will finally produce that more decisive confrontation.

  2. Alan

     /  July 24, 2014

    Thanks for your reply. Sorry it took so long to read your reply. Your blog is fascinating. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and analysis.


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