Accepted paper:

Reinventing political order by Renewal of ruling Elites in Africa : Looking for the weight of Civil Society in electoral Process in Senegal and Cameroon

Authors:

Claude Abé (Catholic University of Central Africa)

Paper short abstract:

As political organized Arena, electoral process function as referee of this competition. The parallel is making between Cameroonian and Senegalese experiences of democratization by focusing attention on the capability of civil society to protect new game of legal and political rules.

Paper long abstract:

This paper verifies the generalized scientific opinion known in transition's studies that Democratization processes open authoritarian power to political change by renewal of ruling Elites and permits their connection to global challenge of Democracy. Our Hypothesis here is that if Democratization connects to this last, it can also disrupt because of the political weight of Civil Society on electoral process. The only insurance is that democratization permits the construction of an arena in which different organized pretentions supported by political parties are in competition to conquer or preserve power. This study shows that as political organized Arena, electoral process function as referee of this competition. The parallel is making between Cameroonian and Senegalese experiences of democratization by focusing attention on the capability of civil society to protect new game of legal and political rules. Senegalese experience permits to verify that civil society is a significant and determinant actor of electoral process when it is strongly structured and politically engaged. This singular political experience demonstrates that political empowerment of civil society functions as connection's weapon because it imposes democratic culture in authoritarian situation in transition. But, looking at Cameroonian trajectory one discovers that their weakness and political disengagement open the door to manipulation of electoral process and compromises democratic transition by renewal of ruling elites. When study Cameroonian experience, it appears that the political weakness of civil Society result to their relative emancipation and open the door to the abuse of power with consequence on the renewal of political elites.

panel Pol26
Democratic and autocratic disruptions