Somaliland: Is It a Democracy?

Topics: Representative democracy, Democracy, Sortition Pages: 3 (1063 words) Published: October 3, 2014
Somaliland, a nation north to the violent and failing state of Somalia, is in the midst of “a remarkable political transformation,”(Kaplan 2008, 143), and is described as a democratic state. How does one come to the conclusion that Somaliland is a democratic nation? The first step to answering this question, is in defining democracy and the prominent factors which act as conditions nations must meet in order to be considered democratic and then determine if they are applicable to Somaliland. Democracy is such a broad concept in the modern world, it is defined by Philippe C. Schmitter and Terry Lynn Karl as, “a system of governance in which rulers are held accountable for their actions in the public realm by citizens, acting indirectly through the competition and cooperation of their elected representatives,”(Schmitter, Karl 1991,76). By analyzing Somaliland’s governing system in relevance to this definition most would agree that it is progressing towards democracy due to these existing conditions of: rulers, public realm, elections, cooperation, and representatives. However, these other critical conditions, system of regime, citizens, and competition prevent Somaliland from being identified as a democracy. Based on the facts stated above, Somaliland cannot be concluded as a democracy, but as a nation striving toward it.

Somaliland cannot be identified as a democracy yet as it is still on route to becoming one. Since it is shaping up to become a democracy there are certain conditions laid out by Schmitter and Karl of democracy that Somaliland does fit into which are the rulers, public realm, elections, cooperation and representatives. In democratic states, “[rulers] can give legitimate commands to others,” (Schmitter, Karl 1991,76). A democratic ruler must be held responsible for their actions. This is evident in Somaliland as there have been fair elections that have been won by the opposition party. This leads to the conclusion that citizens have had the...


Cited: Kaplan, Seth . "The Remarkable Story of Somaliland." Journal of Democracy 19, no. 3 (2008): 143-157. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/jod/summary/v019/19.3.kaplan.html (accessed February 3, 2013).
Schmitter, Philippe C, and Terry Lynn Karl . "What Democracy Is. . . and Is Not." Journal of Democracy 2, no. 3 (1991): 75-88. http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/jod/summary/v002/2.3schmitter.html (accessed February 4, 2013).
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