Abstract

Abstract:

The recent coups in Africa do not portend a return to praetorian politics in the region. They are the outcomes of country-specific historical processes associated with the underdevelopment of state capacity, the decay of political institutions, and the failures of electoral politics to improve citizens' material conditions. At the same time, the coups are an important warning regarding the state of democracy in Africa. Surveys show that majorities of Africans harbor both a deep dissatisfaction with democracy and an openness to military interventions to address civilian political dysfunction. While coup contagion is a remote possibility due to strong norms against military rule in much of the region, popular dissatisfaction with democracy and permissiveness towards military interventions in politics present a real risk of autocratization through elections.

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