Public opinion and democratic legitimacy

Mattes, Robert; Lynch, Gabrielle and VonDoepp, Peter, eds. (2019) Public opinion and democratic legitimacy. In: Routledge Handbook of Democratization in Africa. Routledge, London, pp. 345-363. ISBN 978-1-138-08124-6

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When the third wave of democracy washed across Africa in the early 1990s, leading Africanists openly questioned whether civil liberties, multi-party elections, and representative institutions held any real meaning for ordinary Africans. Many suggested that the reforms that restored political rights and civil liberties, and ushered in multi-party elections, had taken place simply as a function of economic crisis (e.g. Bates 1994), or pressure from international actors such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank (e.g. Munslow 1993; Young 1993; Nwajiaku 1994). Little attention, in contrast, was paid to the desires of Africans themselves.