Blurry Lines: The African Union's Imbalanced Regime of Constitutionalism and Its Consequences
24 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2017 Last revised: 30 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 21, 2017
Since its founding in 2002, the African Union has invested in building a regime of constitutionalism that outlaws politics by force and strengthens democracy. The regime, however, has been selectively enforced. The AU regularly invokes it to police military coups, but has never sanctioned incumbents for carrying out constitutional coups — despite rules prohibiting such transgressions. We account for this imbalance and its consequences for democracy and accountability in Africa. Incumbent instrumentalization of the regime is a key cause of lax enforcement but we argue it is compounded by the absence of bright-line rules against constitutional coups.
Keywords: Africa, African Union, democracy, constitutionalism, coups, term limits, personal rule
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