Political legitimacy

www.murblanc.orgTo understand state dynamics in post-crisis contexts, our research pays special attention to the local dimensions of power. The study of dynamics such as loyalty, solidarity, legitimacy and identity are crucial in this regard.

A recent focus of Modus Operandi has been on the legitimisation modalities of authoritarian regimes.




Power transfer and Legitimacy


Democracy is not just about putting into place the correct institutions, but also about the creation/existence of democratic culture. Elections, being one of the institutions of democracy, are not in themselves sufficient to create a situation of stability. It does not follow that from the mere fact of holding elections, there will be a stable democratic culture in place.

Elections held at the wrong time can in fact have the opposite effect on an unstable situation. Early elections, held before the political situation in a post-conflict state has had the time to normalize, become too confrontational and can split down the lines of the conflict parties.

The following articles comment on elections as a tool for establishing legitimate authority and other means of power transfer:

Elections as means of power transfer and Liberation movements
A case-study of Zimbabwe from 1999 to 2008, by Munjodzi Mutandiri    Read

Successful elections but a failing democracy in Haiti, the 2006 presidential elections, by Paulin Regnard     Read
Kirghizstan : d'un pouvoir à l'autre, l'impossible consolidation de la légitimité, by Karine Gatelier    Read

Post-crisis, the emergence of legitimate power

Sortie de crise: l'émergence d'un pouvoir légitime

This is a research project (2006) analyzing the processes involved in a state emerging from crisis.

A violent conflict can be analysed from a political viewpoint as a fragmentation of power, resulting from a calling into question of the central government, the emergence of new players and competitive sources of authority in a territory or army. Similarly, the current single party systems present in post-Soviet states falsely induce the idea of political monopoly. The protesters and dissidents, up until that point condemned to silence and secrecy, re-created themselves as political actors, each setting up a claim for power when the weakened and discredited system began to topple. Therefore, the emergence from a crisis – whether it be violent conflict or state reform - is about the redistribution of power.

To ensure the sustainability of peace and the establishment of acknowledged authorities, those wielding power have to be recognised as legitimate. We will study the factors involved in the emergence of legitimate power, whether these happen with the beginning of a transition process and its oversight by the international community or with the sources of political legitimacy and actors in the state being studied. We will do this through the use of the examples provided for us by Afghanistan, South Africa, Bosnia-Herzegovina, China, Ethiopia, Poland, Russia, El Salvador and Uzbekistan.

It takes the form of the following analytical articles, published in French:

L’impulsion du processus de transition: des dynamiques extérieures dominantes     Read

L’impulsion du processus de transition: des dynamiques intérieures dominantes     Read
L’impulsion du processus de transition: la nature de l’impulsion en Chine     Read
Encadrement du processus de transition et légitimité de l’action internationale     Read
La légitimation du nouveau pouvoir politique: les sources de la légitimité politique     Read
Les représentations du pouvoir: entre adaptations et continuité     Read