This is Ethiopian Review Policy Research Center’s series on From Dictatorship to Democracy extracted from books published by Albert Einstein Institution.
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Broad-based popular mobilization is difficult to achieve because it requires bridging the disparate interests of the urban and rural poor, the middle class, students, professionals, and different ethnic or religious groups.
Elites, who are often enriched by such regimes, will only forsake them if their circumstances or the ideology of the rulers changes drastically. History is replete with student movements, workers’ strikes, and peasant uprisings that were readily put down because they remained a revolt of one group, rather than of broad mass uprising.
Dictators seek relationships with foreign countries, promising stability in exchange for aid and investment. However wealth that comes into the country, most of it is funneled to the cronies. Other countries have often intervened to prop up embattled rulers in order to stabilize the international system.
Dictators preserve some of the formal aspects of democracy — elections, political parties, a national assembly, or a constitution — but they rule above them by installing compliant supporters in key positions and sometimes by declaring states of emergency, which they justify by appealing to fears of external (or internal) enemies.
Behind the scenes, such dictators generally amass great wealth, which they use to buy the loyalty of supporters and punish opponents.
To VIEW the four factors that need to concide for toppling a tyrant CLICK: The Four Factors that must Concide for toppling a Dictator
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