Journal Article

Democratic Transition and Democratic Survival in Benin

| August 2008

Through its National Conference in 1990 and presidential and legislative elections in 1991, Benin successfully undertook a transition to democracy. Notwithstanding some electoral irregularities, this (minimal) democracy has survived since, witnessing three successful alternations of executive power. A 'deviant' case, Benin is not well explained by theories of democratization that highlight economic development and diffusion effects. In examining the Beninese case, this article focuses on the transition in three stages: the collapse of the incumbent government; the transition to democracy; and the survival (or 'consolidation') of minimal democracy thereafter. In explaining each of these stages, it argues that different factors were key: in the first, economic crisis exacerbated existing weaknesses in the incumbent government; in the second, external actors supported democratization, while diverse domestic groups contributed to a process that was not dominated by any single group; and in the third, domestic leadership and institutional incentives became particularly important. The article concludes by discussing democratic deepening in Benin.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Gisselquist, Rachel. Democratic Transition and Democratic Survival in Benin.” , vol. 15. no. 4. (August 2008):

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