Elections, Leadership and Democracy in Congo

Formidable though the structural impediments to the continuing entrenchment of Congolese democracy are, events in Congo so far indicate that they can be overcome by sensitive national leadership. Structural impediments to Congolese democracy include ethnic heterogeneity, the country’s undemocratic political culture, and, until 1990, the unfavourable international milieu. Both an economic crisis and a crisis of legitimacy were responsible for the collapse of the ‘ancien rgime’ in Congo, and the former was partly responsible for the latter. The success of Congo’s 1991 national conference in definitively breaking the power of Sassou-Nguesso’s PCT (Parti congolais du travail) regime was the necessary first step of democratization in Congo. During the subsequent year of transition, Congo’s democracy faced two important challenges: avoiding a military coup, and organizing relatively free and fair elections. Each challenge was met, but only through the personal restraint, leadership and determination of key political figures. The government of Pascal Lissouba, which was installed in 1992, endured three related crises, yet this new democratic government did emerge intact, if scarred. Notes, ref.

Title: Elections, Leadership and Democracy in Congo
Author: Clark, John F.
Year: 1994
Periodical: Africa Today
Volume: 41
Issue: 3
Pages: 41-60
Language: English
Geographic term: Congo (Republic of)
External link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/4187001
Abstract: Formidable though the structural impediments to the continuing entrenchment of Congolese democracy are, events in Congo so far indicate that they can be overcome by sensitive national leadership. Structural impediments to Congolese democracy include ethnic heterogeneity, the country’s undemocratic political culture, and, until 1990, the unfavourable international milieu. Both an economic crisis and a crisis of legitimacy were responsible for the collapse of the ‘ancien rgime’ in Congo, and the former was partly responsible for the latter. The success of Congo’s 1991 national conference in definitively breaking the power of Sassou-Nguesso’s PCT (Parti congolais du travail) regime was the necessary first step of democratization in Congo. During the subsequent year of transition, Congo’s democracy faced two important challenges: avoiding a military coup, and organizing relatively free and fair elections. Each challenge was met, but only through the personal restraint, leadership and determination of key political figures. The government of Pascal Lissouba, which was installed in 1992, endured three related crises, yet this new democratic government did emerge intact, if scarred. Notes, ref.