Weak legislatures, failing MPs, and the collapse of democracy in Mali

TitleWeak legislatures, failing MPs, and the collapse of democracy in Mali
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsM. van Vliet
Secondary TitleAfrican affairs
Pagination45 - 66
Date Published2014///
Publication Languageeng
Keywordsdemocracy, legislation, Mali

The sudden collapse of Mali's democracy in 2012 revealed the fragility of the state's legitimacy and authority. This article argues that the decay of democracy was linked to the weakness of the country's legislature. Malian MPs collectively failed to scrutinize an increasingly discredited executive and parliamentarians typically operated in isolation from the vast majority of citizens. As a result, rising levels of popular discontent were rarely channelled into the formal political process, and the interests that did enter the political arena were largely restricted to the personal support networks and electoral constituencies of individual MPs. The prevalence of these particularistic interests undermined collective parliamentary scrutiny of matters of national interest. By demonstrating the link between these failures and the collapse of Mali's democracy, this article contributes to the expanding body of literature examining the limited role of African parliaments in processes of democratic consolidation. In doing so it confirms the challenges that executive dominance poses to democratization, while highlighting the importance of representative legislatures to Africa's democracies.


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Citation Key5943