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The Quality of Two Liberal Democracies in Africa: Ghana and South Africa
Working Paper

While the Third Wave of Democracy swept through many African countries in the 1990s, South Africa and Ghana stand out as two of the continent’s real success stories politically. Beginning in the late 1980s, South Africa’s leaders successfully steered the country out of the shadow of apparently irreconcilable conflict and unavoidable racial or ethnic civil war to create a common nation. Since 1994, they have negotiated two democratic constitutions, and held four successful nation-wide elections for national and local government. South Africa’s Constitution has become the darling of liberals and social democrats the world over because of its inclusion of an extensive set of political and socio- economic rights.ii Starting in 1993, Ghana has enjoyed ten years of democratic, constitutional rule, holding three successful multi-party elections (with the third producing a peaceful electoral turnover).

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