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Vol 38 No 22

Published 7th November 1997

Democratic drought

Attempts at political openings have turned sour despite some economic progress

The Sahel's tentative move towards democracy seems to be stalled. From Dakar to Ndjamena, ruling parties increasingly dominate the political landscape and opposition figures are politically and financially marginalised. Seven years ago, the late French President, François Mitterrand, told Francophone African leaders at the summit meeting at La Baule that the way forward lay through their own efforts to involve the people in democratic forms of government. His message has largely been ignored and the new Paris government under Premier Lionel Jospin has decided that the Great Lakes region and relations with Southern and Eastern Africa now have higher priority.

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