Peaceful transition of power

A peaceful transition or transfer of power is a concept important to democratic governments, where the leadership of a government peacefully hands over control of government to a newly elected or selected leadership. This may be at times of election or during the transition from a different kind of political regime, e.g. the post-Communist period after the fall of the Soviet Union,[1] or the elections in Libya following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.[2]

Mustafa Abdul Jalil who oversaw the National Transitional Council in Libya, which oversaw a peaceful transfer of power during the interim government following the Libyan Civil War.

In scholarship examining democratization and emerging democracies, study of the successful transitions of power is used to understand the transition to constitutional democracy and the relative stability of that government.[3][4][5][6] A 2014 study concluded that 68 countries had never had a peaceful transition of power due to an election since 1788.[7][1]

Democratization studiesEdit

President-elect Ronald Reagan is sworn in as president of the United States in a symbolic peaceful transfer of power in 1981.

In scholarship examining democratization and emerging democracies, study of the successful transitions of power is used to understand the transition to constitutional democracy and the relative stability of that government.[3][4][5][6] A 2014 study concluded that 68 countries had never had a peaceful transition of power due to an election since 1788.[7][1]

Peaceful transitions require a number of strong democratic institutions to pursue such as willingness from opposition parties to serve as a loyal opposition. Transitions by election place power holders in vulnerable positions as not only do they risk potential changes in policy and practice and thus their means of power, but also for political retribution or retaliation.[8] Especially in new democracies, there may be a need to create new institutions to facilitate a peaceful transition. After the Libyan Revolution, the National Transitional Council provided a 10-month period that facilitated the "first peaceful transition of power in Libya's modern history".[2] In a stable institutionalized democracy, a peaceful transition is the expected outcome of an election and a 2014 analysis found that once a country begins peaceful transfers of power, it is very likely to keep doing so.[7][1]

21st centuryEdit

The first peaceful transition of power in a country is often treated as an important stage in a government transition towards democracy such as seen in elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[9] Successful transitions during tense political moments such as the Velvet Revolution in Armenia in 2018 are interpreted as signs of improved governance within the country, an important milestone in democratization and functioning civil society.[10] Alternately, the lack of peaceful transfers of power, such as in elections in Georgia from 1995 to 2008 in which the only transition between presidents was via the 2003 Rose Revolution, may harm the international reputation of the country as a "democracy".[11]

BelarusEdit

During the 2020 Belarusian protests that followed the disputed results of the Belarusian presidential election in August 2020, Belarusians created a Coordination Council and a shadow government, called National Anti-crisis Management (NAM), aiming for a peaceful transfer of power to a freely and fairly elected president.[12][13][14] NAM proposed a "constitutional" option for power transfer, in which the presumed presidential election winner, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, would become Prime Minister and the powers of the de facto president Alexander Lukashenko would be legally transferred to the Prime Minister's position, followed by elections for a new president organised by a newly created electoral commission; and a "legal sovereignty" option, in which Tsikhanouskaya would become President and organise presidential elections within 40–70 days.[15]

GeorgiaEdit

The transfer of power resulting from the 2012 Georgian parliamentary election was considered an important case of peaceful transfer of power in the post-Soviet political development of Georgia, which, since the Soviet period, had earlier gone through changes such as the Rose Revolution in 2003.[11]

United StatesEdit

A peaceful transition of power has historically been the norm in United States presidential transitions.[16][17] It is institutionalized through symbolic acts like the United States presidential inauguration.[18]

During the 2020 elections, a number of experts described a risk of democratic backsliding.[19][20] Comments made by U.S. President Donald Trump during his presidential campaign of that year raised doubts about the role of a peaceful transition,[21] while other elected officials, such as members of the Senate, put out public statements in support of a peaceful transition of power, seeing the process as a key part of U.S. democracy.[22] In addition, some Republicans pushed back on Trump's unproven narrative of election fraud.[23] The Financial Times reported that business leaders, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable, made statements calling for a peaceful transfer.[24]

After weeks of questioning, Trump stated on November 15, 2020 that he would accept a peaceful transfer, while at the same time, without giving evidence, he questioned the validity of the results of the 2020 United States presidential election.[25] On Wednesday 6 January 2021, during certification of the electoral college vote, hundreds of Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., pushing past metal barricades and security guards.[26] Some news outlets labeled the act as an attempted coup d'état by Trump.[27][28][29][30] During the unrest, which forced the Senate to recess,[31] four protesters were killed (three by natural causes), as well as one Capitol Police officer.[32] Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell noted that "if this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral."[33]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d "Peaceful transitions of power have been rare in modern states, but once the habit has been acquired it sticks". EUROPP. 26 November 2014. Archived from the original on 9 October 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Libya's NTC hands power to newly elected assembly". BBC News. 9 August 2012. Archived from the original on 18 April 2019. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  3. ^ a b Graham, Emmanuel (July 2017). "The Third Peaceful Transfer of Power and Democratic Consolidation in Ghana" (PDF). Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies. 10 (5): 99–127. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 October 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  4. ^ a b Tamarkin, M. (1979). "From Kenyatta to Moi: The Anatomy of a Peaceful Transition of Power". Africa Today. 26 (3): 21–37. ISSN 0001-9887. Archived from the original on 9 October 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  5. ^ a b Mangu, Andre Mbata B. (1 June 2004). "DR Congo : the long road from war to peace and challenges for peaceful transition and national reconstruction". Africa Insight. 34 (2_3): 31–38. ISSN 0256-2804. Archived from the original on 9 October 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  6. ^ a b Ahmed, Jasem Mohamad (2012). "Democracy and the problem of peaceful transfer of power". Journal of Al-Frahedis Arts. 04 (10). Archived from the original on 9 October 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Przeworski, Adam (1 January 2015). "Acquiring the Habit of Changing Governments Through Elections". Comparative Political Studies. 48 (1): 101–129. doi:10.1177/0010414014543614. ISSN 0010-4140. Archived from the original on 9 October 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  8. ^ Sutter, Daniel (1995). "Settling Old Scores: Potholes along the Transition from Authoritarian Rule". The Journal of Conflict Resolution. 39 (1): 110–128. ISSN 0022-0027. Archived from the original on 9 October 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  9. ^ "First peaceful transfer of power possible in the DRC: regional focus - East Africa". Africa Conflict Monitor. 2017 (Feb 2017): 35–39. 1 February 2017. ISSN 2311-6943. Archived from the original on 9 October 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  10. ^ Yayloyan, Diana (28 February 2019). "A Peaceful Transition of Power and Public's Expectations in Armenia". Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey. Archived from the original on 9 October 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020 – via Think-Asia.
  11. ^ a b "Peaceful transfer of political power and its characteristics in Georgia. The Georgian parliamentary elections of 2012". ibn.idsi.md. Archived from the original on 9 October 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  12. ^ "Pavel Latushko Announces Establishment Of People's Anti-Crisis Administration". Belarus Feed. 29 October 2020. Archived from the original on 16 November 2020. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  13. ^ Grekowicz, Nikita (15 November 2020). "Białoruś ponownie zawrzała po skatowaniu Ramana Bandarenki. Trwają protesty [relacja z Mińska]" [Belarus again in shock at the assault on Raman Bandarenka. Protests continue [report from Minsk]]. OKO.press (in Polish). Archived from the original on 16 November 2020. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  14. ^ Sadouskaya–Komlach, Maryia (6 November 2020). "An Exiled Belarusian Opposition Faces A Credibility Test". Center for European Policy Analysis. Archived from the original on 16 November 2020. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  15. ^ "National Anti-Crisis Management: Two power transition options have been developed". National Anti-crisis Management. 17 November 2020. Archived from the original on 17 November 2020. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  16. ^ Pruitt, Sarah. "How the Peaceful Transfer of Power Began With John Adams". HISTORY. Archived from the original on 14 January 2021. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  17. ^ "All 10 living former defense secretaries: Involving the military in election disputes would cross into dangerous territory". The Washington Post. 3 January 2021. Archived from the original on 6 January 2021. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  18. ^ "Peaceful Transition of Power". National Archives. 18 November 2016. Archived from the original on 9 October 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  19. ^ "Is the U.S. at Risk of Mirroring Hungary's Democratic Backsliding?". www.worldpoliticsreview.com. Archived from the original on 14 January 2021. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  20. ^ Bauer, Michael W; Becker, Stefan (2 March 2020). "Democratic Backsliding, Populism, and Public Administration". Perspectives on Public Management and Governance. 3 (1): 19–31. doi:10.1093/ppmgov/gvz026. ISSN 2398-4910. Archived from the original on 14 January 2021. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  21. ^ Breuninger, Kevin (23 September 2020). "Trump won't commit to peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election". CNBC. Archived from the original on 9 October 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  22. ^ "Unanimous Senate commits to peaceful transfer of power after Trump refuses". ABC News. Archived from the original on 9 October 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  23. ^ "As Trump's Election Pressure Campaign Hits Republican Officials, Some Hit Back". NPR.org. Archived from the original on 14 January 2021. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  24. ^ "US business leaders call for peaceful transfer of power". www.ft.com. 7 November 2020. Archived from the original on 14 January 2021. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  25. ^ Alison Main. "Trump says he would accept peaceful transfer of power but casts doubt on election results". CNN. Archived from the original on 14 January 2021. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  26. ^ "Photos: Protests turn violent as Trump supporters storm the Capitol, delaying the Electoral College certification". Fortune. Archived from the original on 14 January 2021. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  27. ^ Graham, David A. (6 January 2021). "This Is a Coup". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 6 January 2021. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  28. ^ Musgrave, Paul. "This Is a Coup. Why Were Experts So Reluctant to See It Coming?". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on 6 January 2021. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  29. ^ Solnit, Rebecca. "Call it what it was: a coup attempt". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 7 January 2021. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  30. ^ Jacobson, Louis (6 January 2021). "PolitiFact – Is this a coup? Here's some history and context to help you decide". PolitiFact. Retrieved 7 January 2021. A good case can be made that the storming of the Capitol qualifies as a coup. It’s especially so because the rioters entered at precisely the moment when the incumbent’s loss was to be formally sealed, and they succeeded in stopping the count.
  31. ^ "1 shot dead, Congress evacuated, National Guard activated after pro-Trump rioters storm Capitol". NBC News. 6 January 2021. Archived from the original on 6 January 2021. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  32. ^ Levenson, Eric; Vera, Amir; Kallingal, Mallika (8 January 2021). "What we know about the 5 deaths in the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol". CNN. Archived from the original on 14 January 2021. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  33. ^ Axios. "McConnell: "Our democracy would enter a death spiral" if Congress overturned election". Axios. Archived from the original on 14 January 2021. Retrieved 7 January 2021.