The Arab Spring and unconstitutional change of governments in Africa
Popular uprisings that began on the northern coast of Africa in 2011 ended with the overthrow of leaders in Tunisia and Egypt and spilled over into a bloodier conflict in Libya. These popular uprisings were unexpected for the international community, as well as for the African Union, whose goal is to accelerate the integration process on the continent, protect peace and security, support democracy and human rights. In its normative framework, the African Union (AU) has tried not to be silent and to play an active role in response to these unexpected developments. The African Union, which replaced its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), in 2001, has made significant progress in establishing a regulatory framework aimed at preventing government change through undemocratic means in a continent characterized by anti-democratic governments, military coups, rigged elections, civil wars and human rights violations. The wave of the Arab Spring, which affected mainly the northern coast of Africa, was important in demonstrating the effectiveness of the Union’s regulatory framework. However, despite the relevant actions of the African Union in this matter, it was repeatedly accused of not responding in time to the events that took place in Egypt, Libya, and Sierra Leone and of taking decisions late. For this reason, the «Arab Spring» should be seen as an important test for the African Union, especially regarding the understanding of unconstitutional change of government and democratic uprisings.
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