Re-Evaluating the Transition Paradigm
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As described in Chapter 1, the transition paradigm currently utilized by the international community is built upon a belief in the correctness of institutionalism, which proposes that decision-making and power can be controlled through the establishment of democratic institutions. Thus current methods employed by the UN focus on security, institution-building and processes as the inputs to a political system while treating leadership as an output. The findings from the preceding case studies allow for broader conclusions to be drawn about the transition paradigm and its outcomes, and raise serious questions concerning the role of the local leadership. The most important factor to note is that not one of the three internationally led transitions studies resulted in a democratic government based on the liberal definition explicit in the UN framework and therefore utilized for this study. While they may correspond to a hybrid peace in that there was an overlying liberal framework created that was then infused with illiberal institution, they did not result in a political system with strong democratic institutions. Although the idea of hybridity is important and extremely relevant in peacebuilding today, hybridity itself is not an indication of success — especially when the hybrid governance is weighted toward autocracy. One may argue that true democratic transitions require time, perhaps decades, but the three cases also seem to be moving closer to the authoritative end of the spectrum.
KeywordsPolitical Party Civil Liberty Local Leadership Electoral Process Democratic Institution
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