Protection against autocratisation: how international democracy promotion helped preserve presidential term limits in Malawi and Senegal

Leininger, Julia / Daniel Nowack
Externe Publikationen (2022)

in: Third World Quarterly 43 (2), 309-331

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2021.2000855
Open access

This article analyses the conditions under which international democracy support contributes to protecting presidential term limits. As autocratisation has become an unwelcome global trend, researchers turned to the study of the toolboxes of would-be autocrats, including their attempts to circumvent term limits. Through a paired comparison of failed attempts in Malawi (2002) and Senegal (2012), we find that external democracy support can assist domestic actors and institutions in deflecting challenges to term limits. We offer a novel qualitative analysis that posits that international democracy support can only be effective if sustained by popular democratic attitudes and behaviours of actors in the recipient state. On the one hand, a mix of conditioning relations with the incumbent government while capacitating pro-democratic opposition is a successful strategy in aid-dependent political regimes with a minimum democratic quality. On the other, societal attitudes factor into decision-making at domestic and international levels. Our results suggest that popular pro-democratic attitudes encouraged international democracy support during critical junctures in the two countries, i.e. when incumbents attempted to circumvent term limitation. Donor investments had positive results when donors had directed resources towards building up civil society organisations long before any attempts at circumventing term limits were made.

Über die Autor*innen

Leininger, Julia

Politikwissenschaftlerin

Leininger

Nowack, Daniel

Politikwissenschaftler

Nowack

Weitere Expert*innen zu diesem Thema

Fiedler, Charlotte

Politikwissenschaftlerin 

Fiselier, Evelien

Nachhaltigkeit 

Gutheil, Lena

Ethnologie 

Hackenesch, Christine

Politikwissenschaft 

Hilbrich, Sören

Ökonomie 

Kuhn, Sascha

Sozialpsychologie 

Mross, Karina

Politikwissenschaftlerin 

Schiller, Armin von

Politikwissenschaftler 

Wingens, Christopher

Politikwissenschaftler