Examples of peaceful transitions

Contrary to popular belief, many of the changes in socio-political systems were a result of negotiations between several actors who may be internal or external. More than 50 countries have experienced peaceful transitions of power, including Tunisia, Sudan, South Africa, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Hungary, El Salvador, France, and others.

Some examples will be highlighted to present a different perspective on the historical evolution of political systems:

  • South Africa: After nearly 50 years of rule, the apartheid regime began to face internal and external pressures including the German Unification, some signs of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the Boycott Campaign. Although this system could have continued, the country’s president at the time, Frederic de Klerk, realized that the regime’s continuation exposed it to great risks and was no longer sustainable, at least in the medium term. Following this realization, de Klerk decided to work with Nelson Mandela, who was released from prison, to organize the transition of power.
  • Spain: Following Franco’s death in Spain, King Juan Carlos began a transition to a democratic system rather than maintaining the one established by the dictator. This historical event is one of the most striking examples of transitions resulting from political negotiations.

France: The transition from the Fourth Republic to the Fifth Republic started with the Algerian Crisis, which turned resulted in a military coup in the then French colony, ending a few weeks later with political negotiations for a peaceful transition between the renegade Charles de Gaulle and the French authorities.

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