n Conflict Trends - Africa's concept of 'unconstitutional change of government' - how appropriate?

Volume 2013, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


Egypt is the latest example of the African Union's (AU) decision to declare events as an "unconstitutional change of government", and to suspend Egypt's AU membership on 5 July 2013. This is premised on the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2007), which was preceded by the Algiers Declaration on Unconstitutional Changes of Government (1999) and the Lomé Declaration for an Organization of African Unity (OAU) Response to Unconstitutional Changes of Government (2002). At present, four AU members are suspended for the same reason: Madagascar, Guinea-Bissau, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Egypt. However, the regime changes in 2011 in Tunisia and Egypt, and in 2012 in Mali, were not treated in the same fashion - regardless of the fact that the changes which occurred did not follow a constitutional route. One of the pertinent questions, therefore, is: in the case of Egypt, what were the significant differences between the developments in 2011 and in 2013, and did the AU's response in terms of the African Charter provide an effective diplomatic instrument to approach or resolve such situations?

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